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james-20012,431 posts since 13 Sep 2015
Central (East) East Midlands Today
According to a couple of forums, the reason 21/3/85 went missing is apparently because in 1993 they sent the 1" master to a transfer facility to be digitised onto D3, but it went missing. I don't know if that's true, but it sounds plausible- I wonder how many other things have gone missing in this way. I'm presuming there's no raw studio tape or mute links version still existing they could have used to build up a broadcast quality version, both of which BBC4 have done with TOTP episodes in the past.

Doesn't explain why they couldn't show the VHS copy when they've shown such things before though.
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DE88 gave kudos
Rich Tea9 posts since 16 Apr 2017
Anglia (West) Look East
The sound quality of the No1 single Easy Lover on video currently showing on TOTP by Philip Bailey & Phil Collins is quite appalling.

Regards missing editions of the show, I recall quite clearly that there were supposed to be no missing editions after September 1977, or so it was claimed.
Inspector Sands11,681 posts since 25 Aug 2004

Doesn't explain why they couldn't show the VHS copy when they've shown such things before though.

Have they shown a whole half hour from a VHS? The odd few minutes is fine on TV, I doubt showing a whole programme would be acceptable


Also it will most likely have some sort of burnt-in-timecode either of the master tape or if it was live, time of day. That's not going to look great, especially if someone decides they need to zoom in to cut it out of shot
Robert Williams633 posts since 25 Jan 2003
London London

Doesn't explain why they couldn't show the VHS copy when they've shown such things before though.

Have they shown a whole half hour from a VHS? The odd few minutes is fine on TV, I doubt showing a whole programme would be acceptable


Also it will most likely have some sort of burnt-in-timecode either of the master tape or if it was live, time of day. That's not going to look great, especially if someone decides they need to zoom in to cut it out of shot


Not VHS, but in 2012 they did show an edition from 1977 that David Hamilton recorded off his Philips N1500 video recorder, which the Top of the Pops Restoration Team somehow managed make look worse:



Clips were shown of 21/03/85 in The Story of 1985 documentary which didn't actually look too bad, certainly better than what they showed in 2012. There was no evidence of a timecode and the picture was not zoomed in at all, indeed there was the tell-tale sign of a VHS tracking line right at the bottom of the picture.

Of greater annoyance to me is that BBC Four have repeated the error of last week by again showing the latest edition pillarboxed on the SD channel! Mad
noggin12,912 posts since 26 Jun 2001

Of greater annoyance to me is that BBC Four have repeated the error of last week by again showing the latest edition pillarboxed on the SD channel! Mad


If you are watching on Freeview then all 4:3 content is pillarboxed on BBC Four SD "in the background" as all the BBC SD channels broadcast permanently in 16:9 (or certainly used to), and use AFDs to trigger receivers into 4:3 mode If an AFD flagging 12P16 is sent with the 12P16 content. There is no resolution difference in this case.

I believe the same is true of DSat SD - except the AFD is used to trigger an ARC in the Playout chain (and the MPEG2 encoder is switched into 12F12 mode). I don't think that the move to HD Playout has changed this - so I again I don't think there is a resolution improvement for 12F12 broadcasts - though the MPEG2 blocking artefacts will be a different shape I guess, and there might be a marginal improvement.

If you are watching on a 4:3 TV configured for letterbox - I can understand your complaint though.

All of the above is based on the situation a few years ago - don't think it's changed - though I guess the DSat feed could benefit from additional resolution in 4:3 mode IF TOTP is now cached 4:3 SD 12F12 or 16:9 HD 12P16 AND the 12P16 to 12F12 ARC in the DSat chain is actually a 1080i downscaler rather than taking a 16:9 SD downscaled input...
Robert Williams633 posts since 25 Jan 2003
London London

Of greater annoyance to me is that BBC Four have repeated the error of last week by again showing the latest edition pillarboxed on the SD channel! Mad


If you are watching on Freeview then all 4:3 content is pillarboxed on BBC Four SD "in the background" as all the BBC SD channels broadcast permanently in 16:9 (or certainly used to), and use AFDs to trigger receivers into 4:3 mode If an AFD flagging 12P16 is sent with the 12P16 content . There is no resolution difference in this case.


This is exactly what they have been failing to do for the past two weeks - the picture does not switch to 4:3 upon the start of the programme and so the picture appears with black bars on all four sides on a 4:3 set. I sent a complaint via the BBC website, but, inevitably, they have no idea what I'm talking about.

I can't even get BBC Four to go into 4:3 centre cut-out - selecting that mode no longer has effect and the picture remains in letterbox mode. This is also the case with several other channels, including BBC One and Two, yet it does work on other channels such as BBC News and BBC Parliament. I have been using the same receiver for nearly eight years but this has only been happening for the past couple of years or so, so it can't be anything to do with the receiver. Most strange...
Robert Williams633 posts since 25 Jan 2003
London London
I think somebody posted that the BBC channels moved to new playout suites in the last few weeks, perhaps related?

On the Friday before last they managed to show Sounds of the 60s correctly in 4:3, with TOTP and The Good Old Days shown incorrectly either side. I also checked one of the late night TOTP 1981 repeats earlier this week and that was going out in full screen 4:3. So they clearly still have the ability to transmit programmes this way.
Robert Williams633 posts since 25 Jan 2003
London London
Possibly only stuff loaded onto the servers more recently that plays out that way? Sounds of the 60s and the 81 repeats have been shown before and were presumably already on the system.

I did think that - but the transmission of 07/03/85 on 8th February was correct, yet it all started going wrong the very next day. Did something change on 9th February?