Sunday 4 February 2018

Missing Presumed Wiped - Join Jim Dale

1969 was a pivotal year for that wonderfully talented comic actor Jim Dale. In the Spring he returned to Pinewood Studios for one last Carry On film with the gang, having taken the previous year out to further develop his stage career. After missing out on Carry On Up The Khyber and Camping, sadly two of the best films which would only have been further enhanced with Jim present amongst the cast, Dale was back for more medical comedy in Again Doctor.

Again Doctor would be Jim's tenth Carry On film and his last until he signed up for the title role in Carry On Columbus in 1992. Despite valiant efforts from all concerned, the less said about that venture the better I think. Although the likes of Roy Castle, Julian Holloway, Richard O'Callaghan and Kenneth Cope would attempt to fill Jim's shoes over the next few films, his absence was keenly felt. Nobody could play bumbling, energetic romantic leads in the Carry On pictures quite like the multi-talented Jim.

Where is this leading? Well, I was looking at what else Jim was getting up to at around the time he parted company with the Carry Ons. After his Jimmy Nookey was released on an unsuspecting cinema-going public later in 1969, Jim signed up for a show with ITV. Titled Join Jim Dale, sadly little is known about this series and after a quick search online it seems the entire series is missing from the archives. What a disaster! Very little is known about the show but as it was built around the extremely talented Jim I really wish it had been saved for future generations to enjoy. Having seen Jim live in the West End doing his one man show in 2015, I know just what a thoroughly talented all singing, all dancing chap he is!

Produced by Associated Television, the series was produced by Dennis Vance and apparently each episode, broadcast between July and August 1969, featured a range of stand up comedy, sketches and musical numbers. Jim was the focal point of each episode, with a different high profile guest star joining in the fun each time. Of particular note to us Carry On fans would be the episodes in which he was joined by Kenneth Williams and Hattie Jacques. Other star names to feature included Beryl Reid, Roy Kinnear, Anna Quayle and Sybil Thorndike.

Given how popular Jim has been over the years and the calibre of those involved, I'm surprised this series was not kept after original transmission. I know episodes of the most random telly turn up in people's attics and sheds when you least expect it, so I wondered if anyone had a copy of this series hidden away, or indeed if anyone who reads the blog remembers it when it was first broadcast.

If you do, get in touch!

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