Kaleidoscope Publishing exists to promote the appreciation of British television in general and particularly ‘classic’ television programmes that many of us remember from years gone by.

“...a very enterprising group of people in the midlands called Kaleidoscope who specialise in looking at old programmes, gettings copies that everyone thinks have long disappeared and they find them and restore them, and they do credits lists for people like me.”   Alan Plater, CBE.

To this end we have published a number of guides to British television archive holdings. These guides include exhaustive information on the number of archived programmes and the format(s) that they are held in. We have created this website as a means by which visitors can get a flavour of just why our guides have been described as “invaluable resources for anyone wishing to research, or even with a general interest in, British television”.

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The Optimist

Meet The Optimist! A guy who has big dreams in life, yet creates problems and confusion wherever he goes.  He means well, but in this dialogue-free comedy series he manages to leave a trail of chaos across Hollywood and London. If you like Mr Bean, you will love The Optimist. Starring Enn Reitel.


Sea Dreams (rough cut).  The pilot that was screened to Channel 4 commissioner Cecil Korer in 1981, from which the full series was commissioned

Original music by David Spear.  Music created for Sea Dreams, sourced from the original master tapes.

PDF scripts;  Original scripts by series creator Richard Sparks.

The Making of The Optimist: 24-page booklet, colour illustrated with many behind the scenes photos.  Features contributions from series star Enn Reitel, producer Robert Sidaway, writer Richard Sparks, and cast members Sharon Davies, Jenny Runacre, Jenifer Landor, Julie Peasgood, Annette Lynton-Mason and Karen Smith. 


Released 5th August 2023.


He Who Would a Writer Be

John Finch was one of the generation of Northern writers who came to prominence in British television in the 1960s, many of them, like Jim Allen, Stan Barstow, Jack Rosenthal and Tony Warren, writing for Granada Television. Recruited by Granada in 1960, Finch was one of the first writers on Coronation Street, for which he wrote 140 episodes, helping to establish it as Britain’s most popular television drama.

Towards the end of the 1960s Finch branched out with other series and single plays, all with a strong Northern flavour, but it was the 52-episode Second World War saga A Family at War that saw him embark on a series of original and highly popular ‘telenovels’ for Granada in the 1970s.

He followed A Family at War with the semi-autobiographical Sam, for which he wrote all 39 one-hour episodes. The story of a boy, like Finch, growing up in the Yorkshire coalfields, Sam was his masterpiece, watched by 20 million viewers every week. He continued to receive letters from viewers thanking him for putting a truthful picture of Northern working-class life on the screen for the rest of his 97 years.

Though his brand of realist Northern drama fell out of favour in the 1980s, John Finch’s contribution to British television drama was enormous. His autobiography, written in the final years of his life, is a testament to a life well lived, revealing a sensitive and accomplished writer who more than fulfilled his dream.


Released 5th August 2023.


Dickie Henderson - A Life in Broadcasting

A huge star and one of early television's most popular comics, Dickie Henderson was a much-loved entertainment figure throughout the 1950s, 60s and 70s who is now almost totally forgotten.



Here we present 2 episodes of his self-titled domestic sitcom, written by Jimmy Grafton and Jeremy Lloyd, unseen in decades; and an unbroadcast sketch show pilot written by Barry Cryer, which also features comedy icon Kenneth Williams.



On DVD for the very first time, the three episodes are accompanied by a photo gallery including images from missing programmes; and a new booklet comprising an exhaustive list of Henderson's broadcast credits and a new, original biography-cum-career appraisal from comedy historian Graham McCann, paying tribute to this forgotten great of British comedy, just over 100 years since his birth.


Released 5th August 2023.


Dr Finlay's Casebook - Unfit to Marry

Based on the A.J. Cronin books, a lost episode of this classic medical drama series, first shown Christmas Eve 1967.


A lost classic recovered by Kaleidoscope.



Booklet about the series

Subtitles for hard of hearing

More TBC


Pre-order now. Released 5th August 2023.


Tennis that Counts

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Bending the Willow

Beautiful hardback book released during the 1990s.


Now updated by the author and re-released with new photographic content.


Eagerly awaited by Sherlock Holmes fans worldwide. A stunning portrait of Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes.


This book is in stock but can be ordered faster at


Dawson and Dixie

German television special with Les Dawson and George Sewell.


Never seen in the UK.


Extras: Les Dawson on The Blackpool Show, ABC 1967.

Subtitles for German language sections.


TV Brain exclusive.


Sherlock Holmes on Radio and Television

A highly detailed book about the UK TV appearances of Sherlock Holmes.


Includes a DVD of


Sherlock Holmes – The Peter Cushing Interview


Illustrated with clips from missing episodes of the famous BBC 1968 series



Broadcast in Avroskoop,  a series made by AVRO , this edition transmitted on 20th March 1971 saw Peter Cushing talk extensively about his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes for the BBC in 1968.





Found in Belgium, various missing clips from the famous BBC 1968 series, restored to full colour.




55 minutes




The Comedy Makers / Greatest TV Sitcoms

An exclusive DVD/Book set for TV Brain.


A 1970 Dutch Tv documentary that followed the making of BBC and LWT sitcoms.


Come behind the scenes on Steptoe and Son, Please Sir and Hark at Barker to name but three.


Combined with a new book examining the greatest sitcoms. This is a superb reference tome, a huge book with photos.



Ronnie Barker at the BBC: His Lordship Entertains

Episode 1




The only surviving episode of the classic Ronnie Barker sitcom restored to its full glory!





Ronnie Barker's famous character Lord Rustless swapped channels from ITV for this short BBC sitcom set in a hotel.




Originally shown from colour videotape, those recordings were wiped. During ITV's "Raiders of the Lost Archives" campaign in 2007 (which was run by Kaleidoscope) ITV were offered episode one of His Lordship Entertains which was in New Zealand. ITV declined because it was a BBC show. Kaleidoscope accepted and the print was shipped to the BBC and transferred. Due to modern technology Jonathan Coley and his amazing colour restoration processes created a new colour master to be screened at the BFI's annual Missing Believed Wiped on 27th November 2021.




Now you can own it on DVD.


TV Brain exclusive.



Ronnie Wolfe A Life in Memoirs

The memoirs of Ronnie Wolfe, comedy writer of On the Buses and The Rag Trade amongst others.


Includes full copy of the 1989 comeback script for On the Buses that was planned but never made.


Tony Hancock: Inside His Life in Words & Pictures LIMITED EDITION DUSTJACKET


Limited Edition Hardback book with dustjacket. 750 pages.


Tony Hancock was one of our best loved comics and his legendary Hancock’s Half Hour series for the BBC was the inspiration for many comedy shows that were to follow.  With radio episodes regularly repeated on the BBC, it remains as popular today as ever.

Now, for the first time, readers are able to look behind Hancock the comedian and tell his life story through the phenomenal archive amassed by his brother, Roger, combined with material held by the Tony Hancock Appreciation Society.

Lucy Hancock (Hancock’s great niece) tells the story of his life through pictures, correspondence and much more, most of it never published before.  The book also includes a complete chronological timeline of Hancock’s life featuring stage shows and broadcasts previously unpublished.

This amazing collection of archive material is a must for all Hancock fans.


Colour and bw images throughout.




This is a HUGE book and over 2kg in weight. The postage reflects the heavy weight of this book.


This book is in stock but can be ordered faster at



Hancock - the ATV series

Tony Hancock's legendary 1963 series shown by ITV.

3-disc set.

Complete series, uncut.


Extra disc of extras TBC but including:

Commercials featuring Tony Hancock

Photo Gallery

Hancocks - all suriving audio and video footage from the 1967 ABC ITV series.

Telescope -a  Canadian programme interviewing Tony Hancock about his career.


Extensive booklet




Late Night Horror

A classic 1968 BBC horror play, The Corpse Can't Play, restored to colour.


Plus a book about the series Late Night Horror, and a specially-made trail from 1968.





The Tony Hancock Show

The first series of the 1956 ITV series. Series 2 does not survive.


Includes small book about the ITV series written by Martin Gibbons, THAS member.