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My quest in finding those missing Countdown shows

G'day all.

Some of you's might be already aware of my Countdown website http://1970scountdown.atspace.com/ and have been following up on it, those who don't and are interested in the recovery of missing 70s Countdown episodes, my site has all the low down on this subject from the listings of what exists in ABC archives to the lost episodes found and other things.

I'm on the hunt for missing Countdown episodes on early domestic and professional video recordings and have been for about 8 years and over those 8 yeas had some great success in obtaining from my collector friends some episodes and clips that don't exist in ABC, what's been found can be seen on this page http://1970scountdown.atspace.com/lostmain.html .

My plan is to make my Countdown hunt and my site as public as possible and as popular as the hunt for lost Doctor Who episodes to yield more 70s episode recoveries and am going to soon send my Countdown hunt story to http://wipednews.com/ as that site has helped ABC archive researcher John Williams find some lost Flashez episodes, his article is presented on this page http://wipednews.com/features/john-williams-on-finding-flashez/ . I've also got some other plans up my sleeve as well which I believe will bring success in recovering lost shows.

I also want to mention too that I've recently found out there has been some episodes from the 1980s that happen to be missing as well which are:
18th May 1980 (ep 240)
25th May 1980 (ep 241) [2 clips of Mental As Anything "Come Around" exist from that show]
19th October 1981 (ep 262) [this episode was apparently not made due to an industrial dispute according to sources]

27th September 1981 (ep 303)

24th April 1983 (ep 367) [only interview segments with Bonnie Tyler, Skyhooks and Split Enz exist from this show]

2nd September 1984 (ep 432) [Jacksons Victory Tour Dance Competition, the master 2 inch tape doesn't exist but an off-air domestic recording has been handed to ABC and a snippet was featured on the Michael Jackson special]

29th June 1986 (ep 515)
3rd August 1986) (ep 520)

Anyways my site is a continuous work in progress and will be updated on regular basis, there is a lot that I plan on adding over the next year so stay tuned for the updates.



Re: My quest in finding those missing Countdown shows

Good luck with your further quest in finding Countdown material. We all keep our eyes and ears out for that sort of thing but it just doesn't turn up much. The few rare bits I have with the 1977 (Umatic copy) and 1978 (off TV) Jon English hosted episodes appear to have done the rounds and a few people have these now, including yourself.

Just have to hope that KC comes through with those 4 episodes. I have not heard from John Williams of late but I don't think they have them yet. I suspect this will turn into nothing, but you can always hope.

Have you thought of adding a page to your site that lists whatever information is known to be on any missing episodes, so that we can get a fuller picture. The other week I was in the State Library looking through some microfilm of the Age for 1975 and as I got to the Green Guide I had a quick look through (forget what the date was) and it listed a bit of info saying the Countdown episode that week was hosted by Shirley Strachan and listed about 7 acts that appeared. That sort of info would be interesting if it was compiled for the 200 or so lost epeisodes. I imagine that TV Week would be useful but I don't think that is available on microfilm.

Re: My quest in finding those missing Countdown shows

This is great Troy...I love your site as well as this one that Jason has created. As far as I'm concerned the more Countdown information and resources there are, the better.

As it stands (Troy's & Jason's) sites are the two best resources for Countdown fans there are (even better than the official site dare I say). Your two sites compliment each other and provide extensive detail and invaluable information. Big thumbs-up, well done and many thanks to both of you

Re: My quest in finding those missing Countdown shows


Love the site! A couple of the video links are down now though due to the dreaded "copyright violation" rules!

The playlists of the Jon English episodes look sensational. It's such a shame there isn't more 1977/78 material extant in particular (but as you say there may be even more out there somewhere).

I'm also writing as I wanted to pick the minds of the "brains trust" around this site (Jason and the Guru and the other lads). Going back 30 years ago my parents put a tape recorder next to a TV music video show (I think it was around August/September 1979 from the looks of the playlist). It wasn't unusal before video machines became more mainstream and I think they used to do it with movies if Dad had to work night shift and something good was on etc. There may have been other tapes but this was the one that survived. I've been listening to it for 30 years or so now since I was 6 years old.

Okay the problem is I don't know the proper names for all the songs or the artists. I'm trying to track down digital copies of all the songs (I've been doing the same for another old tape recorded from old 78rpm recordings from the 1950s and 60s as well - but ironically its been easier to pin down some of that stuff as opposed to this much later material!).

I'm not sure if the show was Countdown or Sounds (but I suspect it was Sounds although all the gabble between songs was cut out). I think there is a snatch of Donnie at one point but I can't be sure. There was definately a live audience of sorts. The songs are:

Wings - Getting Closer
Darryl Cotton - Glamour Girl
? - "Lady from Jupiter"
? - "Queen of the Queen Bees"
? - "Highwire"
? - "You're a Fine Love"
? - "Sweet Red Wine"
Claudja Barry - Boogie Woogie Dancin' Shoes
Mosco and Stone (?) - "Song Just for You" (?)
Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music - Angel Eyes
Christie Allen - Goosebumps
Doug Parkinson - "You Ain't Going Nowhere Without Me"
Cliff Richard - We Don't Talk Anymore
Mix-Sex - Computer Games
Quantum Jump - The Lone Ranger

What brought this to mind was the fact that one of the video links for Troy's site mentioned a song called Song Just for You by an act called Mosco and Stone and I thought hey! that might be them?

I went through the Countdown database and found that there was a 1979 episode hosted by Split Enz where the Mosco and Stone song is played (unfortunately I don't have the episode so I can't be sure and I can't find it on You Tube). There 1979 album is for sale on ebay but I'm not spending money on an LP (mint or otherwise) just to satify my curiosity (which is pretty extreme at times).

If there's anyone out there who can let me know more about the artists and songs on this tape could you let me know.



Re: My quest in finding those missing Countdown shows


Thanks for the nice words regarding my site and I am sure Troy thinks the same ***

Re: My quest in finding those missing Countdown shows

Judging by the release dates of some of the songs it is from July to November 1979 so it may actually come from a combination of several episodes. As most of the later 1979 Countdown shows are known (although September is a black hole with only 1 of 5 episodes remaining) I would tend to lean towards Sound Unlimited with Donnie Sutherland.

I have never heard of any of the 5 songs marked (?) but it could also be a case of the song title not being obvious in relation to the lyrics or even misheard lyrics. Being poor I used to do the same thing and record songs off Countdown with a tape recorder but that was in the early to mid 80's and my material was not from any lost episodes - I still have some of those audio tapes as well but they are 1985-86 and are a mixture of Countdown and radio.

If you want to send me a copy of that tape I would love to listen to it and try and work it out for you. I can send you a copy of that Split Enz Countdown episode for it if you like. Are you still at the same address in Tassie?

Re: My quest in finding those missing Countdown shows


That all sounds great. Thanks to Troy's site I've only just found out that "Angel Eyes" was a Roxy Music song. I have listened to a stereo recording now and it sounds fantastic. I'm hoping to find out what the other songs are and do the same. You are right in that it could very well come from several shows - I just don't know for sure and Mum and Dad have no specific memory of doing it.

I will email you my postal address for privacy reasons and organise to send you a CD of the off-air recordings.

Thanks again,


Re: My quest in finding those missing Countdown shows


Thanks to a hard drive crash in recent times I no longer have your email.

I am at the same address in Tasmania and my email is listed in my posts on this thread. Could you contact me and I'll get back to you. I will need your postal address again as well.



Re: My quest in finding those missing Countdown shows

ahh, the days of recording music off the telly onto audio tape. I remember hiring Beverly Hills Cop and getting the music onto tape. I was too poor to buy the soundtrack or any music back then.

Re: My quest in finding those missing Countdown shows

I wonder what the critieria was for the dumping of the 70's episodes?

For example - there are 3 eps in a row from 1977 (9/1, 16/1 & 23/1 1976 'Best Ofs) and the 2 1976 eps 5/12 & 12/12 all follow in sequence.

It would appear with those there was some thought in maintaining them and yet others seemed selected at random.

Was it basically pot luck that saw those episodes survive or was there an edict in determining which eps remained?

Re: My quest in finding those missing Countdown shows


In my completely unqualified opinion, I have a feeling that certain episodes were kept as a source of clips (the best ofs for 1976). The Silver Jubilee episode was probably retained because of its royal guest star.

Having researched the Doctor Who achival tradegy in detail over the years, one gets the feeling in regards to the BBC that both apathy and bureaucracy all played a part.

Some would have survived entirely by accident of course. The BBC case is very complex as there was no one central archive, different selectors had different ideas about what was valuable and I believe there was at least one individual at the BBC striking prints for private distribution (in fact there was, he admitted to it and sold them on - making a mockery out of the establishment's argument that they know what happened to all prints etc.) Sue Malden the 70's selector admits that many were probably rescued from garbage skips. Many episodes were destroyed in the mid-70s as there was no room to store them and they were a fire hazard. Also according to Ian Levine the person in charge of BBC enterprises felt that material in black and White had no value. Unfortunately in any organisation there are people who simply act like midless automatons - the BBC would be kicking themselves now for their shortsightedness.

Apparently Episode 4 of the Celestial Toymaker fell down the back of a cabinet somewhere at the ABC and was discovered in 1984. Miracoulsly though during its time behind the cabinet it had fallen out of its cannister, had its final credits lopped off and then slipped back into its cannister before being 'found'.

It would be interesting to know if all Countdowns were kept at the one location. Listening to the commentary of the D-Generation's Late Show DVD release there was a mention that they were told when they requested some clips for a recurring segment (remember Jane and Tom on the bean-bags?) that there were only a dozen shows still existing and they had to be "unfrozen". This was before the first modern repeat season in the summer of 93. Jane Kennedy sardonically notes that "we then saw every episode of Countdown being repeated". Its an exaggeration and it may serve better to highlight problems between the D-Gen and the ABC but it does also illustrate how haphazard the whole business of television achives appears to be!