The completion of last nights Rage marks the 200th different Countdown now repeated since the tradition began 20 seasons ago back in January 1993. This is not counting repeats-of-repeats of course. So now is a good time to reflect on what has and has not been shown.
Here is the break-up year-by-year. The figures also include most un-numbered episodes & specials such as Standby Shows, Summer Specials & Award shows - some of which had episode numbers, some not – all I have omitted are a couple of one-artist specials known to exist including Sherbet’s “Around the World in 80 days” special of 1976 and the Culture Club special of 1984. This also does not include the "Countdown Friday" shows of 1982/83 (only one is listed as surviving), and the "Countdown Flipside" request shows of 1983 (which are not in archive listings so their status is unknown - some will have definitely survived including the one with Duran Duran's unique Countdown performance screened some years back during Rages retro season)
Originally 8 episodes – no complete shows exist – all master tapes erased within a year of transmission. Only 2 segments from the 1st show (Sherbet with DJ intro/Skyhooks) survive plus some performances repeated on 01/03/75.
4 surviving shows – all shown on Rage – all bar 3 master tapes erased within a year of transmission, the 01/03/75 show was recovered on U-Matic tape in the early 1990’s – the 30/12/75 is a Sherbet Special but included in the overall number.
2 surviving shows – both shown on Rage – a 3rd show (26/12/76 1976 Top 100 Part One) only exists as a segment tape and will probably never be screened. All remaining shows Master tapes erased during 1981/82 cost-cutting purge initiated by Federal Government departments.
7 surviving shows – all shown on Rage – an eighth show (02/01/77 1976 Top 100 Part Two) only exists as a segment tape and will probably never be screened. The remaining Master tapes of all bar 6 shows were erased during the 1981/82 purges as above. One of the 7 shows (03/07/77) previously missing was returned to the ABC on a DVD transfer of a VHS domestic video format 4 years ago and screened in January 2010. The domestic copy was missing only the opening titles which were re-dubbed by ABC archives from another segment tape.
8 surviving shows – all except one (19/03/78) shown on Rage. The one not shown has a damaged audio track and will never be transmitted as it consists of live performances. A 9th show (29/01/78 Top 100 of 1977 Episode 5) exists only as a segment tape and will probably never be screened. A 10th show was also recovered (16/07/78) and sent to the ABC approximately 8 years ago but is missing the beginning plus part of the closing credits and is also not in the necessary quality for transmission being copied from a poor quality domestic Betamax tape dubbed from the original transmission date in 1978.
All remaining 1978 episodes Master tapes erased during the purges of 1981/82 as above.
25 surviving shows – all shown on Rage. The remaining shows Master tapes were erased during the purges of 1981/82. This means approximately ½ of the years episodes now exist. Further segments of a couple of missing shows do survive in private hands but are not in transmission quality.
Shown on Rage = 24 & Not shown yet = 21 (2 episodes listed as missing from the archive, and one never made due to an industrial dispute)
Shown on Rage = 22 & Not shown yet = 22 (1 episode listed as missing from the archive)
Shown on Rage = 26 & Not shown yet = 26 (this year had a large number of shows – 1 for every week of the year – due to the inclusion of Summer Specials in January when Countdown was normally off the air)
Shown on Rage = 19 & Not Shown yet = 25 (1 episode listed as missing from the archive)
Shown on Rage = 29 & Not Shown yet = 18 (1 episode also missing but returned to the archive on domestic format – Jacksons Victory Dance Special)
Shown on Rage = 17 & Not Shown Yet = 30
Shown on Rage = 11 & Not Shown Yet = 38 (2 episodes missing from the archive) – this year also had more episodes due to the screening of Summer Specials in January again.
Shown on Rage = 7 & Not Shown Yet = 16 (final show 19/07/87 & Awards show afterwards counts as one episode)
TOTAL – 200 Episodes shown on Rage – an overall average of 10 per season although this years number may yet increase. The best year was 1997 when 20 episodes were shown, mostly from 1979. Also 1998 when 19 were shown. And a very respectable 17 in 2011 with only 3 repeats. The worst year was 2001 when only 4 episodes were shown.
I have not listed the number of episodes repeated but most of the 1970’s ones bar 1979 have had at least 2 screenings with Iggy Pops 1979 episode (08/07) still holding the record having been shown 5 times but thankfully not more recently than 2000!!
The best year for % of surviving Countdowns being shown on Rage is 1984 with 29 episodes now shown, the worst 1986 with 11.
There are now 197 definite surviving shows (counting the recovered Jacksons show from 1984) left for Rage to repeat so we are now over half-way there!! Although if we are still all present in 2032 I do not expect us to be celebrating having seen every single surviving Countdown by that time.
Whew that is an amazing list there Brett!
Ok so 197 to go then. I still wouldn't mind seeing the March 1978 Adelaide Festival one though - even with the faults in it and the 76/77 segment tapes ones would be ok as well.
I hope some more 'lost' Countdowns are found one day - I'm sure some must be out there somewhere.
Rage have thus far this year shown 7 Countdowns - 6 'new' ones and 1 repeat. Hopefully they show some more in the next 2 weeks.
Anyone know how many Countdown Revolution episodes were made?
Fantastic detail Brett. Really appreciate seeing it all statistically broken down.
So it has taken 19 retro seasons to show half of what exists, so hopefully by 2031 (when I will be 61) they will all be shown. Even more hopefully they will start screening these gems on one of their other channels ABC2 or 3.
Interesting to see the year by year breakdown of unaired episodes.
Ok interesting. I guess since it was 5 days a week there would have been around 300 by the time it ended after 18 months.....although not sure how long it went on for the 5 days a week slot.
And yes - Countdown, C. rev and others should all be played on a digital channel sometime - here's hoping!
This may be a stupid question but do you think Molly would have all the countdown episodes? I think there might be someone out there who taped every episode when it was shown.(wishful thinking) i stupidly only ever taped the songs i liked boy do i regret it now.