On Sunday the 1st of December at the Edinburgh Filmhouse, there is a special screening of some rare archive television programmes, in an event called Missing Believed Wiped. Amongst the programmes to be shown is an edition of It’s Lulu first broadcast on BBC1 on Saturday 18th January, 1969.
As part of her live weekly programme, Lulu would perform one of the songs that were in contention for the United Kingdom in that year's A Song For Europe, and in this edition it is the song March that is included, which would eventually finish as the runner up to Boom Bang-A-Bang, and features on the B side of the single of her winning song. Also featured on the show are singer Jack Jones, and some familiar faces who accompanied Lulu to Madrid in 1969, conductor Johnny Harris, and her backing singers Sue & Sunny.
Missing for over 40 years - returned by Lulu
Returned to the BBC in 2009, this show, along with two other editions in the series, plus an edition of the popular music show Top Of The Pops, were long considered missing in the archives of the BBC, with the original tapes having been long since wiped. Fortunately it was Lulu herself, along with her then husband Maurice Gibb, who was something of a gadget freak, who recorded these programmes on an early domestic video format called a Sony CV2000. In the late 1960s these early video recorders were very much the preserve of the wealthy, and were long before the days of VHS, or even DVDs and Blu-Ray!
Elton John song entry also recovered
One of the other editions of It’s Lulu that was returned, features the entry I Can’t Go On Living Without You, which was written at the time, by the relatively unknown composers, Elton John and Bernie Taupin. The song went onto finish in sixth, and therefore last place in the 1969 A Song For Europe. Whilst the edition of Top Of The Pops that was included in the tapes returned included the earliest known surviving performance by Lulu of Boom Bang-A-Bang. Also recovered is a short trailer from the 18th January, 1969, with Lulu promoting the programme and mentioning she would be performing the second of the six songs in the competition.
Lulu of course went onto be one of the joint winners of the 1969 Eurovision Song Contest, when she tied for first place along with the entrants from Spain, The Netherlands and France. Watch her performance of Boom Bang-A-Bang in Madrid.
Because these recovered programmes only exist on a domestic video format, and suffer the usual problems of video recordings, they will probably never be broadcast on television in their entirety. Although a few brief clips have been used in a documentary about Lulu, which was broadcast in 2011. This will be a unique opportunity to see the entire programme, and a chance to rate how March might have done compared to Boom Bang-A-Bang.
Among the other rare television programmes to be screened in Edinburgh, will be a recently recovered BBC play, Colombe, from 1960 featuring a young Sean Connery, and a recently recovered episode of the 1960s popular science fiction series, Doctor Who, featuring Patrick Troughton as the Doctor, in The Web Of Fear Episode Four.
The Edinburgh Filmhouse is located in the centre of the city, and is almost opposite the Usher Hall, which was the venue for the 1972 Eurovision Song Contest.
We will be looking at the archive status of the Eurovision Song Contest in a future article.