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Fraggle Rock UK - where are they now?

Discussion in 'Fraggle Rock' started by anathema, Aug 24, 2011.

  1. anathema

    anathema Well-Known Member

    As some of you will know by now, very few of the 96 episodes from the UK co-production are available to buy as apparently only 12 of the tapes can be located. There are various theories as to what may have happened to the others, but noone seems to know for certain.

    However, what is known is that the 12 shows released on DVD a few years ago are definitely not the only ones to survive, and I've been doing some digging...

    I've put up a chart of what is known (or at least reported) to still exist: www.nightshade.org.uk/fraggleuk.html

    I have not listed every known copy of a given episode, just the best and/or most accessible. It breaks down like this:
    • 12 episodes were released on DVD a little while back. Despite the inaccurate information posted on Wikipedia and the Muppet Wiki, these shows were not sourced from a "grainy VHS" but came from broadcast-quality copies.
    • 20 episodes were released on VHS in the late 80s. Eight of these were included on the above DVD, so I have not listed these as existing on VHS as well.
    • a number of shows survive as off-air recordings made at the time of the original transmissions.
    • the BFI list a number of shows in their archive, although sadly these are not available to the general public and they do not state whether their copies are broadcast-quality or off-air recordings. I'm assuming the former as it's more likely, and as these episodes are not likely to make it into circulation I have listed other known copies where appropriate.

    All told, approximately two-thirds of the episodes are known to exist - somewhere!

    If anyone knows of any other episodes, or copies of episodes, please do get in touch :)
  2. anathema

    anathema Well-Known Member

    Shots from the opening titles:

    Series 1

    Series 2

    The Bells of Fraggle Rock

    Born to Wander

    Series 3

    Series 4
    ZootSaxPlayer likes this.
  3. Kermieuk

    Kermieuk Well-Known Member

    Great thread Alex. Good work.

    I so wish we could get all the UK episodes.
    I used to have a tv recorded UK version of bobber & the glob. It was many years ago and I can't remember what happened just annoyed I didnt hang on to it.
  4. anathema

    anathema Well-Known Member

    If you ever find it, please drop me a line :)
  5. anathema

    anathema Well-Known Member

  6. anathema

    anathema Well-Known Member

    Update...Kal do not in fact have the episode. We're trying to establish who does!
  7. anathema

    anathema Well-Known Member

    Updates! After some more research, it turns out that the BFI don't have quite as many episodes as I thought, but they definitely have broadcast-quality (and thus suitable for DVD release) copies of 17 shows which are not included on the existing DVDs. They also hold two episodes which are out on DVD, plus an off-air recording of 'Bells'. Kaleidoscope also have an off-air of 'Bells', but nothing else.

    This brings the totals to:
    - 29 episodes now definitely exist in broadcast-quality
    - 11 episodes exist on the mid-80s RCA VHS releases
    - 17 episodes exist as off-air VHS recordings of varying quality

    Thus, 57 episodes are now known to exist in some form. I've updated my webpage: www.nightshade.org.uk/fraggleuk.html

    As always, if you know of any others please get in touch!
  8. KermieBaby47

    KermieBaby47 Well-Known Member

    Does this happen or has this happened to a lot of shows over there? I ask, because I know there are a lot of missing Doctor Who episodes dating back to the sixties. It just seems odd to me that this happens at all. At the very least, it seems like Henson Co. would have kept these showings in some kind of archive or something, right? Sad. Weird too! :confused:

    Great that resourceful people like you are around though, you cannot leave the magic!!
  9. anathema

    anathema Well-Known Member

    Yeah, there's a lot of stuff missing. The very earliest TV programmes weren't recorded because it simply wasn't possible - the first practical video-recorder was introduced in the mid-50s and prior to that the only way to preserve a programme for posterity was literally to point a film-camera at a TV screen. (I'm simplifying a bit, but that was the essence of the process.) Even once video-recording became possible, the high cost of tape was a limiting factor: a 90-minute tape cost the equivalent of hundreds if not thousands in today's money, so there was a huge incentive to reuse tapes.

    TV was regarded as ephemeral - once it had been shown, it probably wasn't going to be seen again and would just take up space on a shelf somewhere. There were many factors, but it ultimately boiled down to money: the shows were not regarded as having any further value - they weren't going to be repeated, home-video had yet to appear and no other broadcaster was interested in buying them so they're not bringing in any cash and they're costing money to keep sitting around in the vaults. The switch to colour in the late 60s didn't help, either - viewers wanted colour shows to watch on their expensive new sets.

    At the BBC, tapes would be routinely wiped and reused anything from a few months to a few years after broadcast. There wasn't any particular pattern to this, just luck of the draw, which is why some shows are missing odd episodes here and there rather than huge swathes of material. I'm less familiar with the ITV companies' practices, but again there's a lot missing.

    Much of the BBC's output from the 50s and 60s is lost, more than likely forever. There are also huge gaps from the 70s, but by the end of the decade home-video was catching on and broadcasters realised that there was a potentially lucrative market for archive telly. The BBC officially stopped their junkings in 1978, and everything broadcast since then should still exist (live programming excepted - for example, there's little point in keeping every single weather report!).

    'Doctor Who' is missing 106 episodes from the 60s; it was 108 until a few months ago, when a couple turned up in a private collection. There are also several 70s episodes which, originally made in colour, now only survive as black-and-white film copies. It's one of the better-preserved shows of that era, largely thanks to the efforts of its fans in tracking down copies of 'lost' shows. By contrast, of the first 500 editions of 'Top of the Pops', aired from 1964-75, just 20 survive.

    'Fraggle Rock' was produced by TVS, an ITV franchise in the south of England. It's not likely that they ever sold the show to any other broadcaster, since it was UK-specific, so when they lost the franchise in the early 90s it is not out of the question that they destroyed at least some of their archive. I should stress that I have no evidence one way or the other - for all I know all 96 episodes are still sitting on a shelf somewhere - but other companies have been known to do this with their archives.

    I am rather surprised that Henson didn't make sure they got copies of the finished episodes, but we do know that they have at least some material: apart from the 12 shows released on DVD a few years ago, clips from a couple of others were included in the 'Captains and Sprockets' feature on the Season 3 DVD boxset, as were a number of the UK-shot 'Travelling Matt' postcards. Whether this means they have the full episodes, or just copies of the UK scenes, I don't know...

    Incidentally, if anyone has a means of contacting Henson to let them know about the BFI's little collection, could they please get in touch! :)
  10. Muppet fan 123

    Muppet fan 123 Well-Known Member

    Intresting they didn't release the UK version of Fraggle Rock yet...
    I think it would be virtually impossible for me to watch the UK version after knowing the U.S/Canadian version of FR. It would be a whole diffrent show for me.
  11. anathema

    anathema Well-Known Member

    The majority of the episodes are not available to be released. They may no longer exist. Those episodes which are available have been released.
  12. LeanneRivett

    LeanneRivett Well-Known Member

    That's how I felt about the US version, but I've got used to it now.
    KermieBaby47 likes this.
  13. KermieBaby47

    KermieBaby47 Well-Known Member

    I'd love to see the series from another country, BECAUSE it'd be a different show! Nothing's better than Muppets and mixed culture!! What a great addition to my collection that would make, ah, if only. :)
  14. Brave Didymus

    Brave Didymus New Member

  15. BlueFrackle

    BlueFrackle Well-Known Member

    Amazing! Please send me an email!!

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