Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Are You Completely Served?!?

The classic British sitcom Are You Being Served? has been creating laughs for over forty years. Though most of the show's cast has passed away, the laughs they created are still with us. However, up until the mid 1990's, the BBC had lost track of two episodes- the pilot and Top Hat and Tails.

Unbelievably, the pilot became lost when someone at the BBC decided to record over the original master tape. When the show hit the United States in a big way, the BBC decided to dig through every tape library in England to locate the pilot episode. It found a copy that had been recorded by an affiliate. Despite the fact that the episode had been recorded in "BBC Colour", the only copy they found was in black and white. The copy was restored and placed in the rotation on PBS and BBC Gold, a luckily recovered piece of TV history.

In 2009, the BBC ran the pilot through a color recovery process that restored the show's original look.

While looking for the pilot, the BBC realized that it was also missing Top Hat and Tails, an episode that introduced the character of Mr. Harman. Nobody had recorded over this episode; it was merely mislabeled, forgotten and misplaced. This time, the episode was found in full color and was restored along with the other episodes to ensure that it will make viewers laugh for many years to come.