A basic Out of the Unknown episode guide, in Microsoft Word format, is available here.

MISSING EPISODES CLIPS GUIDE

by Lee Rose

With thanks to Colin Cutler


Introduction

Out of the Unknown was a BBC TV series that was broadcast, primarily on the then-new channel BBC2, between October 1965 and June 1971.

The format was that of a science-fiction anthology series, similar in idea to the preceding US series, The Twilight Zone, and featured teleplays adapted from classic stories by authors Isaac Asimov, John Wyndham and J. G. Ballard, amongst others. Other teleplays were original scripts commissioned for the series, written by some popular names in television such as Nigel Kneale (Quatermass, The Stone Tape), Terry Nation (creator of the Daleks and Blake's 7) and Troy Kennedy Martin (Z Cars, Edge of Darkness).

The first two seasons were made and transmitted in black and white. Season 1 episodes were around an hour in length, while from season two the episodes were cut down to approximately fifty minutes. Produced by Irene Shubik, the main style was that of differing looks at our future through science fiction concepts. The majority of stories were adapted from famous and popular tales by science fiction writers of the times and earlier and centred on humanity’s future. Season one was dominated by stories of space travel, and visits to alien planets were common (in episodes like No Place Like Earth, The Counterfeit Man and Sucker Bait, to name but a few) and some stories of time travel. With season two, the emphasis was still futuristic, but this time anchored in machinery and robotics, and more were set on Earth. These are, of course, broad generalisations.

After a two year hiatus, Shubik had departed, and the move was made to colour. Alan Bromly took over the reigns of producer, and made his own mark on the series. In the third season, the type of stories remained broadly the same, but most were now set on Earth, and the emphasis was beginning to be placed on the psychological rather than the plain futuristic (for example, Last Lonely Man and Get Off My Cloud).

Another two years passed before Bromly's changes were well and truly established, with the series’ fourth season. All episodes were set on Earth and almost always in a more contemporary setting. Most episodes featured a strong psychological horror element in the plot and could sometimes be controversial (for example, schoolgirl rape scenes in To Lay a Ghost). Science fiction elements were minimal. To top it all off, a new title sequence was created, accompanied by new theme music, from a stock library.

The fourth series of Out of the Unknown was the last, but the BBC's quest to create some horror continued. They destroyed many of the film prints and videotapes of the series, often leaving episodes totally unrepresented in their film and videotape library...

Thirty out of the forty-nine episodes of Out of the Unknown are missing from the BBC’s archives: a shocking 61% of episodes simply do not exist anymore.

The Missing Episodes

Season 1:
The Fox and the Forest
Andover and the Android

Season 2:
Frankenstein Mark II
Level Seven
Second Childhood
The World in Silence
The Eye
The Fastest Draw
Too Many Cooks
Walk's End
Satisfaction Guaranteed
The Prophet

Season 3:
Immortality Inc.
Liar!
Beach Head
Something in the Cellar
Random Quest
The Naked Sun
The Little Black Bag
1+1=1.5
The Fosters
Target Generation
The Yellow Pill
Get Off My Cloud

Season 4:
Taste of Evil
The Sons and Daughters of Tomorrow
The Last Witness
The Chopper
The Uninvited
The Shattered Eye

However...

In a wonderful twist of fate, clips from some lost episodes have survived to this day. Sequences from episodes may have been used in other shows of the time, such as editions of Towards Tomorrow which have survived while the episodes in question have gone. Film inserts discarded by the BBC Graphics department have been kept in private collections, and many other clips and a full episode exist as audio only (they were recorded off-air onto open-reel audiotape recorders by fans before the age of home VCRs). In fact, a number of recent audio finds have meant many missing episodes are represented in at least some small way.

As with similarly-representative clips from missing 60s episodes of Doctor Who, other Out of the Unknown clips have been recovered from the Australian Censors, who edited the prints the BBC supplied them before transmission to remove any material they deemed unsuitable.

The strangest partly-missing episode, however, is represented by extracts that comprise a large chunk of the episode The Little Black Bag. Running just over twenty-eight minutes, this represents approximately 57% of the episode. This clip, featuring most of the last thirty minutes of the episode, was discovered on it's original 2" videotape in January 1999. The tape had been reused for a news program but had not been wiped previously. This gives us a spectacular insight into the episode, and, if it existed fully, it would surely rate as one of the best in the series.

It should also be noted that scripts exist for every missing episode in BBC Written Records. ‘Tele-snaps’ images (off-monitor photo’s, taken as the episodes were transmitted, as a record for the show’s production office) also exist for many episodes, providing an invaluable resource for fans of the series and archive TV enthusiasts.

Clips Listing

The Fox and the Forest
End credits from BBC Graphics showreel on 16mm film

 

Andover and the Android
16mm film graphic inserts and end credits from BBC Graphics showreel

 

The Fastest Draw
Three audio extracts -
Content Unknown

 

The Prophet
Five audio extracts -
1. The renegade robot QT-1 has assembled the space station’s robots and is asking them whether they should obey the instructions of “so-called humans..”

2. Donovan is gripped by two robots, shouting to his colleague, “Greg, this is insurrection!”. Entering the room, Greg Powell ineffectually tries to resume command, “QT-1, you’ll report to my office - get out! I’ll handle these animated gadgets in my own fashion”. QT-1 coolly retorts that the humans have misunderstood the nature of the new situation on the station…

3. QT-1 (preaching) passing along a line of kneeling robots, anointing their heads (according to the script) with a can of oil!

4. QT-1 ordering the two earthman back to the ‘officers’ room’ and to take their revolting food with them

5. Powell and Donovan decide to assemble a robot to prove to QT-1 they made him - the new robot (QT-13) rises from the table, and asks for directions to begin work…

 

Satisfaction Guaranteed
Three linked audio extracts -

Claire Belmont talking with the household Robot ‘Tony’ - Claire is highly suspicious of the machine ; her husband Larry has just left for America to discuss a financial deal regarding the production of such robots, leaving the prototype with Claire as a sort of unofficial ‘field experiment’.

A video clip of just over a minute sourced from a 16mm film print and used in a show on robotics. A sceptical Claire is introduced to the machine by her husband Harry.

 

Second Childhood
Three audio extracts-
1. Dr Gerard Keppler using the metaphor of a clock running in reverse to explain the rejuvenation process to Charles Denistoun.

2. Section of the rejuvenation process (SFX sound only)

3. Charles waking up after his operation and looking in a mirror - Dr Odile Keppler by his bedside.

 

Immortality Inc.
Four audio extracts -
1. In the future, the technicians at Rex industries attempt to capture Mark Blaine at the moment of his car crash on New Years Eve 1969 (crew are gathered round a type of ‘scope’ looking at Blaine driving along the motorway in his car) ; they cheer as the transfer is completed. Then
Blaine waking up in his ‘new body’, attended by Dr Cole. -Blaine learns that he has been projected into the future - he is incredulous and laughs.

2. At close of play - ‘The Reject’ - a disembodied spirit inhabiting a dying Host body - catches up with Blaine. It realises why Blaine is so significant - the reject’s body holds the mind of the other driver involved in the 1969 car crash - he knows that a part of Blaine had willed the crash to happen. The reject has come to claim for himself a ‘new body’: in this case that of Blaine…(to the distress of Blaine’s girlfriend Marie Thorne - one of the original technicians who brought Blaine into the future).

3. Other clips, content unknown.

A video clip of a four seconds duration recovered from the Australian Censors.

 

Liar!
Four audio extracts -
1. After his first demonstration of mind reading with the factory’s production manager, Ashe takes up Herbie’s suggestion of locking him in a cleaner’s cupboard. Here the robot picks up one of the cleaners romantic story magazines and begins to read, “I’ll never forget the day I told my husband….”

2. Scene cuts to Lanning’s room (head of the factory), where the sceptical and anxious journalist Brooke is waiting to be reassured of the safety of the new line of robots. Brooke is impatient…

3. A bemused Ashe returns to the assembled group, he bumbles an explanation, Brooke leaves. Ashe tells them that the new robot has just read his mind. Prof. Lanning decides they should all go see Herbie for themselves….

4. Herbie is confronted by Robo-Psychologist Susan Clavin, who has discovered what the robot is up to; Herbie is then given an ‘impossible’ order, the carrying through of which implies the possibility of a human being hurt. Herbie suffers the robotic equivalent of a nervous breakdown - he crashes through the door, down a corridor and topples down a stairway.

Two video clips of around over a minute in total sourced from a 16mm film print and used in a show on robotics. Herbie comes off the production line, and to Ashe's utter horror can read minds. A very short extract from one of these clips, of the two halves of Herbie's head being pushed together (see image, above) can be seen in the opening title sequence of the American sit-com Malcolm in the Middle.

 

Beach Head
One audio extract -
Commandant Decker attempts to communicate with one of the planets humanoid natives via a mentagraph - two linked headsets connected to a monitor screen.

 

1 + 1 = 1.5
Five audio extracts -
1. Population Officer Henry Beldon consults the central computer at Westminister regarding his pregnant wife and unlicensed child - the computer gives out a series of bizarre recommendations…

2. Other clips, content unknown.

 

The Fosters
Five audio extracts -
1. After his wife mysteriously collapses into a coma, Bio-Chemist Harry Gerwyn receives a call from the mysterious Mr Foster- asking him to come and visit him at his home address.

2. Other clips, content unknown.

 

Get Off My Cloud
Four audio extracts -
1. The Daleks invade a boy’s bedroom in his nightmare - he fires back at them.

2. Parnell materialising in Craswell’s dreamworld (“How do you do, Marsham Craswell I presume..?” ) - Craswell in hospital bed moaning at the mental intrusion. Scene follows on with Parnell remarking on Craswell’s dreamworld appearance (“The last time I saw you, you were as white as a bed sheet”) ; attempting to ‘write’ Parnell in as part of the fantasy, Craswell asks “You are an Earthman..?”

3. Parnell conjures up a Police Phone Booth (the TARDIS Police Box) - he phones his friend the Sergeant to come and help with a “disturbance of the peace” - outside, Craswell screams his battle cries as he prepares to fight against a hoard of alien creatures.

4. Parnell conjures up a group of Daleks from his childhood nightmare - Craswell is relunctant to admit anything which counters his own ‘reality’, and denies seeing them, “Daleks? I see no Daleks…”. Parnell replies, “Oh, don’t be such a sop Craswell, you’re not the only one with imagination.”

 

Something in the Cellar
Four audio extracts -
1. Monty showing his housekeeper Bettina the computer set-up

2. Fred attempts to tamper with the Computer’s ‘D-circuit’ - the computer retaliates: a sudden electronic flash and the screwdriver Fred is using pierces his wrist: he screams in pain.

3. Monty realises the mind of his dead mother inhabits the computer - he hears his mothers voice coming through : he attempts to run from the cellar and gets as far as the bedroom upstairs, but the hypnotic call of ‘Come Back..’ from the Cellar induces him to return. He ends up in a foetal position on floor beside computer, his mother’s voice crooning ‘Just the two of us, for ever, and ever, and ever…”

4. A lengthy seven minute audio clip, content unknown.

 

Random Quest
Two audio extracts -
1. The shift to a ‘Parallel Universe’: Colin Travers emerging from the lab explosion to find himself at the foot of a stairway in a Gentlemens Club - he is met by a Hall
Porter. "You all right Mr Trafford, you fell down the stairs sir - no bones broken I hope..”

2. Content unknown.

 

The Naked Sun
Five audio extracts -
1. On the planet Solaria, Earth detective Baley interviews the head of Solarian Security - Hannis Gruer - on a monitor screen - the latter drinks from a glass of water and collapses; Baley calls for assistance from Gruer’s household robots. Later, he calls up the Solarian medical advisor Doctor Thool, and asks how Gruer is progressing.

2. In Baley’s Solarian apartment, Baley receives a radio transmission from the Earth under-Secretary Minnim (who assigned Baley to the case) calling for his return on to Earth. Baley is adamant that he wants to pursue his investigation, and orders a robot to switch of the transmission. His robot partner - R. Daneel Olivaw - warns him: “You cannot defy the Under-Secretary”

The content of the three other clips is unknown.

 

The Little Black Bag
Five audio extracts -
1. Three clips from the early part of the episode, content unknown.

2. One audio clip linking into recovered video footage.

3. Final audio clip featuring parts of the conclusion missing from recovered video footage.

Twenty-eight and half minutes of video footage which represents most of the latter half of the play, with various short segments in-between and the conclusion missing, plus reconstructed opening and closing titles -
Angie and disgraced Dr Roger Full who found a bag from the future and saved his own life with it, set up a Cosmetic Surgery Clinic to cash in on the incredible medical instruments in the bag. They perform amazing feats of cosmetic medical science much to the disbelief of registered doctors. Journalist Edna Flannery visits the clinic about a back ache and while examining her finds a problem in her lung and performs surgery, removing it from the unknowing Edna. After this, Full grows troubled by the clinic and feels the bag has the potential to save thousands of suffering people, while Angie wishes to keep the spoils for themselves. Full arranges to give up the bag for a full medical test run much to Angies distress. In a moment of anger she uses an instrument from the bag to stab Full... In the future, the murder is detected and the order is given by the computer. "Kill that bag!"

 

Target Generation
Four audio extracts -
Content unknown

 

The Yellow Pill
A complete recording of this episode exists, but it is marred by extraneous noise (possibly the sound of hoovering!)

 

The Last Witness
A video clip of thirty-three seconds duration recovered from the Australian Censors.

 

The Uninvited
An audio recording exists of the complete episode.

 

 

 

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