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Not Pete Atkin >> Off-topic >> Flying The Flag
(Message started by: helen on Today at 06:30)

Title: Flying The Flag
Post by helen on Today at 06:30
I apologise if this is ancient history but it does show the multiple talents of Pete Atkin. Some years back, he worked on a BBC radio comedy series called Flying The Flag. I have just discovered it when BBC 7 rebroadcast it. Unfortunately, living abroad and with technical problems, the sound quality was dire. Nonetheless, it was so brilliant that I would like to hear/read it properly. The BBC tell me it was never commercialized so no books, CDs, etc exist. Can Pete or one of his many fans please tell me if it is possible to buy/find a recording or scripts? There were no less than four series. It is far too witty, still relevant and perceptive to be allowed to disappear like this. With thanks. Helen

Title: Re: Flying The Flag
Post by Pete Atkin on Today at 10:02
Hi, Helen - I'm delighted you've discovered Flying The Flag, and even more delighted that you've enjoyed it so much. I remember it with great affection, and I think it never quite received the recognition it deserved, so better late than never.  The writer, Alex Shearer, is now a neighbour(ish) of mine here in Bristol, and Christopher Benjamin, who played the local security colonel (the location of the series - a small but somewhat autonomous Iron Curtian country - was always kept helpfully unidentifiable) is someone I've worked with several times since, most recently in Frederic Raphael's Fame And Fortune last year; but the key to the series' success (apart from the scripts, that is) was the incomparable Dinsdale Landen who played the Ambassador and who died not many years ago from throat cancer, the cruellest of all afflictions for an actor. (I should say that later series were produced by Neil Cargill after I'd moved on to a different job in the BBC)

But your sources are correct:  it never did have any commercial life beyond broadcast, and I suppose we should just be grateful that the original tapes were preserved so that BBC7 can play them again.  And although I kept a good many of my 80s productions on cassette (the only practicable medium at the time), I'm afraid I don't have any FTFs.  Nor do I have any scripts.  This was all (just) before the age of desktop computing - at the Beeb, at any rate - otherwise the chances of its survival in some form would have been better.  I suppose i should get myself organised to record at keast some of them off-air.

But thank you so much for catching it and for your generous response.

Title: Re: Flying The Flag
Post by S J Birkill on Today at 12:04

I haven't myself used the file-sharing protocol BitTorrent, so I can't personally recommend this, but... I see the first series (6 episodes) seems to be available here (http://www.fulldls.com/torrent-others-968073.html).

Should BBC 7 ever repeat the programmes and you want to hear them at the time, you're probably familiar with the (lack of) receivability of UK DAB and Freeview in France, even close to the Channel coast -- it's intentional, to avoid interference. But the BBC's new Freesat satellite service carries BBC 7 and is receivable in high quality throughout western Europe. Still, if you don't mind hooking up to your PC, it's much easier to use their 'Listen Again' Web-based service, pretty well anywhere, which should (unless your 'technical problems' are Internet-related) give you perfectly adequate listening on line.


Title: Re: Flying The Flag
Post by helen on Today at 14:13
To both of you - thank you for such prompt, helpful replies. I tried finding your neighbour, Alex Shearer, on the net, but without success. He does not appear to have a fan group! If you could put me in touch with him, I should be most grateful. I am surprised that Colonel Surikov is still with you - I would have expected cirrhosis of the liver to have carried him off long since, unless the Ambassador watered his whisky? As you say, Dinsdale Landen was so good that one did not miss the significance of a comma.
I will look into the solutions you suggest and try downloading the torrent.
Best wishes for your current projects.
Thank you, once again, from a Somerset girl who has spent the last twenty years in France.

Title: Re: Flying The Flag
Post by Kevin Cryan on 06.08.08 at 20:52
And while we are talking about Pete's radio work, I should add that the already easy-to-recommend Radio Heads (BBC Radio 7 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbc7/)), on which the one-time Head of Radio Light Entertainment Bobby Jaye last week chose 2 Pete Atkin produced radio comedies,episode 3 of series 1 of the cracking After Henry (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/After_Henry_%28radio_series%29) (The Cowboy) and programme 5 of series 1 of Yes Minister (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yes_Minister); (The Writing on the Wall), turns its attention this week to another Radio Head,  the late Jonathan James-Moore, (http://www.ex-bbc.net/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.pl?board=Obituaries;action=display;num=1132826453) whose choices are The Million Pound Radio Show (27/07/1991); Knowing Me Knowing You (08/12/1992); No Commitments: Retiring Types (04/08/1999); Goodness Gracious Me (05/07/1996); On The Town with The League of Gentlemen: A Guest at the Dentons (06/11/1997); Choice Grenfell (05/03/1998).

Kevin Cryan

Bobby Jaye Listen (http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/b007jqgf) 3 days left to listen

Coming up (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00cvsjz/comingup)

Title: Re: Flying The Flag
Post by helen on 07.08.08 at 13:35
Just to say that the link recommended


enabled me to download all but 2 episodes of the first three series of Flying The Flag - thanks once again. Helen

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