The Men From The Ministry

Transcription Service Series

The following is an extract from some correspondence from Edward Taylor to Don Hannah, c.1992. It was originally printed in "Tune Into Yesterday", issue 26/27, published by ORCA.
Deryck Guyler and Richard Murdoch
Deryck Guyler and Richard Murdoch

"There were 147 MFTM programmes between 1962 and 1977. 3 years after the series ended on Radio 4, I received a request from BBC Transcriptions. They had started taking the series rather late in the day and had found it more popular than they expected! They wanted to use some of the early shows which they hadn't taken and had now been destroyed. So they asked me to update and re-write 14 episodes from the early days. This I did and delivered them to BBC Transcription in 1980. This special Transcription series was never broadcast in the U.K., with the exception of a Christmas one, which got itself onto Radio 2 a couple of years ago. I can't recall when it went out or what the title was, but it was a remake of "The Magic Carpet" from the first series. From the historian's point of view, I think that you should disregard these since they were virtual duplicates of certain shows you have already listed."

"It is one of my regrets that I didn't use the sub-titles of the different programmes on the air. Actually, it was quite an innovation when I started using sub-titles at all. Many series at that time (including, I think "The Navy Lark") didn't use sub-titles, which must have made subsequent records quite difficult. Anyway, of course I now wish I had used them to top and tail the recordings!"

"My scripts always carry to recording dates, but seldom the transmission dates! Transmission order was usually different from recording order. I was always anxious to have the best shows starting and finishing the series on air, and hide away in the middle any that hadn't come up to expectations in the studio. Thank you for pursuing BBC Worldwide for further commercial cassettes. No use asking for any more with Wilfrid Hyde White, I fear. I know for a fact that the only two in existance are those already out on the first collection. The ones with Eric Barker are also lost (he came in as an emergency for "The End of The Road", the last of the first series, when Hyde White was ill). We then did a special Christmas edition while Hyde White was in Hollywood (title - A Present For Norman). John Laurie dopped for Deryck Guyler once, possibly twice, when the latter was ill. I don't know if those tapes still exist, and likewise the Horne and Costa edition."

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