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Info: Fraggle Rock - UK episodes...

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 (Edited)

This may qualify for a preservation project…! Those of you with long memories may recall that the UK version of this classic Henson show was set in a lighthouse and starred - originally - the late Fulton Mackay as the lighthouse-keeper.

The last episode aired in August 1990, and so far as I know the show hasn’t been seen since. The UK version of the show was a co-production with TVS, and when they lost their franchise 20 years ago their archive changed hands. It is now believed to be buried somewhere in the depths of the Disney empire; Disney have little or no interest in it, and in any event the paperwork has apparently been lost so noone knows what might be in there.

The upshot of this is that when 12 episodes were released on DVD in 2004, they were apparently the only 12 of the 96 originally produced which could be found. So far as I know, Henson currently regard the other 84 as ‘lost’ and so a full UK DVD release is simply impossible.

The situation isn’t quite this bad, fortunately. I’ve discovered that the BFI have a further 28 episodes, and VHS copies of 23 more have turned up so the total now stands at 63 episodes which exist in some form.

So, this is part-announcement and part-plea for help! If anyone knows of any other episodes that survive then please let me know 😃

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Previous thread here - good to hear progress has been made.

Still can't help with locating any lost episodes, but if you need any advice on capturing VHS let me know.

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I'd completely forgotten I'd posted that! :-)

Thanks for the offer, but I'm actually a (part-time) video engineer and DVD producer...so allow me to reciprocate - if I can be of any assistance to anyone on here, please ask!

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Awesome. I've seen a couple episodes, but I've always wanted to see the whole series. Definitely interested in seeing a preservation of this. 

FE<3OT

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Cool :-)  At this point I'm aiming to get Series One done this side of Christmas; I shall update this thread with my progress!

Regrettably it's unlikely that I'll be able to get hold of the Kaleidoscope or BFI episodes so Series One will consist of just 12 of its original 24 episodes.  Series Two is better - I'm only missing one episode - but Three and Four are very badly depleted with just 7 and 3 respectively available to me.

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Progress update :-)

 

In terms of production, there were four UK series of 24 episodes each.  The first two starred Fulton Mackay, and as far as I know were shot in 1983/1984 and subsequently aired from 84-87.  After Mackay's death, John Gordon-Sinclair took over as lighthouse-keeper for Series Three (shot 1987-88, aired 1988-89) and was succeeded by Simon O'Brien for the final series (shot 1988-89, aired 1989-90).

Despite the gaps in the library, I'm producing these DVDs as four 'Series boxsets'.  Hopefully other shows will turn up and I can simply update the discs :-)  The first release will thus be 'Series One' and will consist of the following episodes:

  • The Preachification of Convincing John
  • The Terrible Tunnel
  • Don't Cry over Spilt Milk
  • We Love You Wembley
  • Capture the Moon
  • Marooned
  • The Minstrels
  • The Great Radish Famine
  • The Garden Plot
  • Gobo's Discovery
  • Mokey's Funeral
  • The Beast of Bluerock

 

Restoration is well under way on these 12 shows: the first eight are complete and awaiting final technical review, and The Garden Plot is being dealt with at the moment.  This latter is proving very time-consuming as the tape is badly scratched; I've had to recreate a number of frames digitally to get over the worst of the problems.

The shows are being mastered in NTSC rather than PAL; this is partly because the bulk of each episode was shot in NTSC and partly because I don't want to have to produce two versions of each disc :-)  The NTSC-shot scenes are being taken from the US DVD boxsets and the PAL scenes are being run through a motion-estimating standards-converter, the results from which are hugely impressive.  As most of the PAL scenes have had to be taken from VHS recordings, there is some variation in picture and sound quality (another reason for taking as much from the US DVDs as possible!) but I've smoothed it out as much as I can.

Other than that...opening titles have been replaced on all shows; the episode title caption has been replaced digitally; the closing credit-roll has been remade (unavoidable - many of the recordings do not have their credit-rolls); and I've taken the opportunity to fix some poorly-timed edits in the originals - often when cutting from PAL to NTSC scenes the start of someone's line is clipped off; I've reinstated these.  No change to programme content has occurred, though :-)

I hope to have Series One out in time for Christmas, but this is currently a moveable date due to the amount of work outstanding.

As always, if you're interested in the forthcoming DVDs or the show in general, please post here or PM me!

 

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And it's almost here!  Discs will be available from December 5th - IM me for more details :-)

 

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Full details of the release:

 

Fraggle Rock UK - Series One

The original series ran for 24 episodes. Sadly, half of these are now missing. This 3-disc DVD set collects the twelve which remain.

Includes the episodes:

  • The Preachification of Convincing John
  • The Terrible Tunnel
  • Don't Cry Over Spilt Milk
  • We Love You Wembley
  • Capture the Moon
  • Marooned
  • The Minstrels
  • The Great Radish Famine
  • The Gerden Plot
  • Gobo's Discovery
  • Mokey's Funeral
  • The Beast of Bluerock

 

While only three discs are included in this release at present, the case is designed to take a full set of four discs. If further episodes are discovered, replacement/additional discs will be made available separately.

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Very awesome! Would love to check these out. 

FE<3OT

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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 official 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

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

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Such a great project. I loved those series (and most of all the uncle).

 

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The next release is approaching completion, and I hope to have it ready for release in the next few weeks.  This is the best-preserved series of the show, with 23 of its 24 episodes available to us:

  • Wembley's Egg
  • Booberock
  • All Work and All Play
  • Red's Sea Monster
  • Boober's Dream
  • Mokey and the Minstrels
  • The Trash Heap Doesn't Live Here Any More
  • Sir Hubris and the Gorgs
  • A Friend in Need
  • The Wizard of Fraggle Rock
  • The Doozer Contest
  • Red's Club
  • The Secret of Convincing John
  • The Bells of Fraggle Rock
  • Junior Sells the Farm
  • Fraggle Wars
  • The Day The Music Died
  • The Doomsday Soup
  • A Cave of One's Own
  • Wembley and The Great Race
  • Doozer is as Doozer Does
  • Boober's Quiet Day
  • Invasion of The Toe-Ticklers

 

This is a four-disc set; all discs are DVD9s.  I'll post further information once I have a definite release-date.

 

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Ok, it's about ready to go!  The set will be available from Monday January 30th - PM me for more details as usual :-)

 

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Series Three - what there is of it - is coming along nicely, and I expect to have it ready some time in March.  Only seven episodes are currently available to me, unfortunately:

  • Born to Wander
  • A Dark and Stormy Night
  • The Battle of Leaking Roof
  • The Great Radish Caper
  • Home is where the Trash is
  • Sidebottom Blues
  • Bored Stiff

 

A further six are known to exist at the BFI, but I have no access to these, and the other eleven may or may not have survived at all.

This will be a two-disc set.

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Great news, Alex. The enduring legacy of the Fraggles came home to me yesterday morning (Snday) again whilst working on Premiership football at Norwich, when the unit manager said he'd seen a reference to Fraggle Rock on my Facebook, (there's a studio crew photo on my profile), my audio guarantee engineer immediately chipped in with the fact he also watched as a kid and that the whole family including his nieces and nephews were fans. It's amazing how much it's in the national psyche. Such a missed chance for Disney to capatilse on if they don't know or realise that they may have some master tapes! Anyway kind regards, Ian. Will send the picture, I'm the one 2nd on the camera right of Fulton.

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We're attempting to find out whether Henson are aware of the 17 episodes at the BFI. It still isn't clear whether the TVS masters have survived.

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Apologies for the delay in getting Series Three out, but it's all been in a good cause - we have located another episode!

Technically this isn't a discovery - the BFI have a copy of it - but as I can't get hold of their tapes, the appearance of another recording is good news :-)

The episode is Pebble Pox Blues, the eleventh episode of Series Three.  The recording has just reached me today, and I'm starting to prepare it for the DVD.

Further updates will follow once the rejigged discs are complete!

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Hi, keep up the good work! It's much appreciated, Regards, Ian

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Righty, it's finally done!  Series Three will be available from Monday in the usual way :-)

 

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Hi folks,

The final series will be available from Monday.  Sadly this is the slimmest of the four, with only these three episodes available:

  • Sprocket's Big Adventure
  • Uncle Matt's Discovery
  • Change of Address

 

To make up for it, though, approximately 30 minutes of raw studio footage from the episodes A Tune for Two, Beyond the Pond and Junior Faces the Music are included (and to forestall the obvious question, there isn't enough material there to reconstruct the episodes!).

Hopefully this won't be the end - I'm sure there are more recordings out there somewhere!  Should any more turn up I will be happily updating the DVD sets :-)

 

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Great work. Which site are these on?

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I only have 2 of the U.S. HiT DVD releases...Where It All Began and Dance Your Cares Away.  Each has 2 regular episodes and 1 bonus episode, 6 total.  I'm glad to see someone is doing all this to help keep "The Fraggles" alive and well.

Cheers!!!!

 

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Off-air recordings of another seven episodes have been found:

Blanket of Snow, Blanket of Woe
Gunge the Great and Glorious
Wembley and the Mean Genie
Gone but not Forgotten
Mokey Then and Now
Red's Blue Dragon
The Perfect Blue Rollie

This brings the total up to 64 now known to survive.