M'chum Ian Greaves writes:
I’m involved with a research project which plans to uncover the complete history of BBC Radio 4’s Week Ending (1970 – 98), a sketch show which used a wide array of up and coming writers, producers and performers. Heavily reliant on the week’s news, it was a satirical show with a fast turnaround and acted as an important platform for newcomers. Vitally, it also accepted material from members of the public under a long-standing ‘open submission’ policy.
We’ll be marking the tenth anniversary of Week Ending’s demise next year. Unfortunately, and typically, the BBC Sound Archive has kept almost nothing of the show before 1988. A couple of other archives retain earlier editions, but either way we’re looking at around 600 missing editions. In addition, over 100 ‘Two Cheers’ compilations for the World Service are apparently awol too.
Have you any editions in your collection? Do any of your friends or family have a connection to the show? Perhaps they contributed a couple of gags in 1979 and home recordings are tucked away in their loft? Maybe you have a specially recorded trail, kept by chance at the end of an old C-60? If so, we would love to hear from you.
This is not necessarily a request for copies. At present we are keen to establish precisely what exists in private collections as domestic ‘off-air’ recordings. We appreciate that any episodes that do survive may not be sufficiently dated, or perhaps have sections missing. Thankfully, all of the key paperwork exists so it should be possible for us to identify anything you might have.
It is also worth bearing in mind that, whilst the Sound Archive is fairly comprehensive beyond 1988, those copies may be missing interesting bits of continuity/presentation, not to mention the many trails commissioned after that date. If you think you can fill in those gaps then we would be delighted to hear from you.
This is an initiative which I am working on with the long-established programme recovery/research group Kaleidoscope. Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help us.
BBC sound archive
Weekending was one of those shows you were always supposed to try and get a sketch on, as a step to becoming a full-time comedy writer - they had fairly open meetings where I think you could pitch ideas, and I'm fairly sure that's how Rob Newman and David Baddiel met, amongst others. I never tried this route myself, as I never really clicked with the show's sense of humour, and I was based in cornwall, so it would have been a bit of a commute. Good that there was a way in though, and I don't know if there are any similarly open-submission-style shows these days, which is a shame.
Anyway, do let Ian know if you have anything - as he says, he's not necessarily looking for copies as yet, but trying to get a sense of what's out there.