And now from Norwich.... a missing episode of Sale of the Century

Nicholas Parsons, of Sale of the Century, making attempting to smash his own non-stop talking world

Nicholas Parsons, of Sale of the Century, making attempting to smash his own non-stop talking world record for the Guinesss Book of Records. He beat it by making the longest after-dinner speech - just over seven hours. Here Nicholas and Sale of the Century hostesses Sneh Gupta and Tina Robinson are helping to launch a nationwide attempt to knit the biggest blanket in the world to raise money for Action Research for the Crippled Children. Photo: Archant Library - Credit: Archant Library

A missing gem of television has been found that recalls how Norwich was at the heart of one of the most successful quiz programmes in viewing history.

Nicholas Parsons on the set of Sale of the Century. Photo: Archant Library

Nicholas Parsons on the set of Sale of the Century. Photo: Archant Library - Credit: Archant Library

Between 1971 and 1983, the catchphrase: 'And now, from Norwich, it's the quiz of the week,' would introduce Sale of the Century hosted by Nicholas Parsons.

Filmed by Anglia Television, the show at its peak would attract more than 21m viewers as contestants battled it out for prizes, including 'bargains' hidden behind a curtain.

But like many other classic television shows, episodes of Sale of the Century no longer exist, with virtually all of the programme never kept for posterity.

But now television archive hunters have revealed that an episode of the show has been found and is now safely secured.

Nicholas Parsons with the show hostesses on Sale of the Century

Nicholas Parsons with the show hostesses on Sale of the Century - Credit: Archant


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The Birmingham-based organisation Kaleidoscope has announced an episode of the show from 1982 has been found on VHS and will be transferred to its archive in a digital form.

Kaleidoscope's Chris Perry said the episode was from September 5 1982 and the VHS recording had been returned by Keith Martin who worked on the show as guest announcer that week.

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Mr Martin had asked for a VHS copy of the show to mark his guest appearance while regular announcer John Benson was away.

More than 400 episodes of the show were made by Anglia Television and Mr Perry estimated that up to 97pc of its episodes no longer exist.

Mr Perry said: 'This show was made in 1982 and people assume that shows exist from then. For some reason no-one thought to keep copies of the shows, despite how popular it was and how much they spent on building a set.

'People assume it is just old episodes of Dr Who from the 1960s that are missing.'

The announcement of the return of the Sale of the Century find was the 267th discovery of programmes long thought vanished in just two years by Kaleidoscope.

Finds include Z Cars shows and an episode from the first season of The Avengers called the Tunnel of Fear from 1961. This week also saw an 1967 episode of the Till Death Do Us Part, of Alf Garnett fame, found.

Anyone who thinks they have a missing episode should email contact@kaleidoscopepublishing.co.uk

History of Anglia Television

Today marked the 58th anniversary of the launch of Anglia Television in Norwich and its distinctive Anglia silver knight.

Broadcasting began at 4.15pm with a picture of the Mendlesham mast and a voiceover announcing: 'Anglia Television is on the air.'

Its first night saw the broadcast of the play The Violent Years starring Lawrence Harvey and Hildegarde Neff.

The station was based at the old Agricultural Hall at the top of Prince of Wales Road and at the time of its launch the only competition was the BBC and three radio stations.

Word spread of the quality of its programming and soon the likes of Richard Todd, Kenneth More and Anna Neagle appeared on shows.

As well as Sale of the Century, big hits for the station included Survival and Tales of the Unexpected, which was launched in 1979 and sold to more than 70 countries.

It is now known as ITV Anglia.

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