I bring very exciting news. You know Wrinkles? The radio sitcom written by Rob Grant and Doug Naylor, which ran for two series in 1980 and 1981? The one that starred Ballard Berkeley from Fawlty Towers and David Ross from Kryten, White Hole and Mechocracy? The one that is missing from the archives and has never been repeated in the four decades since it was originally broadcast?

Well, it’s being repeated on BBC Radio 4 Extra on Thursdays at 10:30pm.

Now, in typical G&T fashion, we only spotted this today, and discovered that the repeat run actually started last Thursday. But that’s ok, because it means that the first episode is already up on BBC Sounds! The description notes that this is “recovered audio of a series lost from the BBC archive”. In other words, it’s off-air recordings of the original 1980s broadcasts, rather than clean copies from the master tapes. You can very much tell from the quality that this is the case, but that’s not the point.

The point is that over the many years that Wrinkles has been on our radar, nine of the twelve episodes have been found and collated. And, dear reader, the episode that was repeated on Thursday? It’s not one of those nine. This is brand new old Grant Naylor material. Treasure it. We assume/hope that all six episodes from the first series will be included in this run (the schedules are currently confirmed up to and including episode four), which would mean we’ll have eleven of the twelve (all but the last episode of Series 2) at our fingertips.

Kudos to the team at BBC Radio 4 Extra, the great champions and curators of vintage comedy, for realising the significance of this series and bringing it to the masses. It’s been more than 42 years since this episode was available to listen to. One thing’s for sure, it’ll never be missing again now.

45 comments on “Wrinkles Wrecovered

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  • Finally, after all these years, we’ll be able to put an episode order to the series 1 Downloads

  • One episode in and they’ve already got Ballard Berkeley doing the “thinks the moose head is talking” routine from The Germans

  • Shamefully I’ve never heard Wrinkles til now. Really enjoyed episode 1, the human cannonballs story being a particular highlight. The repetitious conversations got a bit tiresome by the end but I’ll keep listening. 

    One episode in and they’ve already got Ballard Berkeley doing the “thinks the moose head is talking” routine from The Germans

    Also naming his dog ‘Major’ of course, and a brilliant subversion on asking Basil about the cricket scores. 

  • Gave this a listen, and it was pretty good. As Rob Grant radio shows go, I give it the rating “Not As Good As Quanderhorn, Better Than The Nether Regions”.

    So maybe not quite “superlative”, but still worthwhile.

  • Have you listened to Cliche & Son, Flap Jack? Well worth it if you’re in the mood for sketches, along with a hearty serving of Red Dwarf primordial soup.

  • Have you listened to Cliche & Son, Flap Jack? Well worth it if you’re in the mood for sketches, along with a hearty serving of Red Dwarf primordial soup.

    I haven’t, except for the Dave Hollins sketches on the Red Dwarf DVDs. I didn’t know they were even available to listen to anywhere! But good to know they still come recommended.

  • Whoa, because I was searching for it, I noticed that Son of Cliche is being repeated in a few weeks! I guess Radio 4 Extra are on a bit of a Grant Naylor kick at the moment.

    Only 2 episodes though. Repeating all of them would be spoiling us, I can only assume is the BBC’s reasoning.

  • Only 2 episodes though. Repeating all of them would be spoiling us, I can only assume is the BBC’s reasoning.

    How far forward do the schedules run? Maybe more will follow later.

  • Quite possibly, although they only have a handful of them in full quality in the archives. They’ve often done a run of just the ones they have, and both of those are among them. So unless they go down the Wrinkles route of running off-airs, it might just be a partial repeat, as per.

  • Good points. I wasn’t aware of Son of Cliché’s archival situation, so perhaps there will be more on following Sundays. Though that doesn’t explain why they’re broadcasting a Series 2 episode first and a Series 1 episode second.

    For both Wrinkles and Cliché, it is seriously embarrassing that even into the 1980s the BBC still weren’t properly archiving their shit.

  • I have been a fan of Wrinkles for years ever since I downloaded them from this site many moons ago so hearing new episodes has been a superlative treat

    I decided to see if there was any differences with the version of episode 3 “The Camel” on BBC Sounds and it sounds to me like it has some kind of filter put on top of it maybe done during the restoration and the version held in the download section is thankfully in a much clearer quality.

    Hoping the missing series 2 episode is recovered along with those missing Wally Who? episodes 

  • it is seriously embarrassing that even into the 1980s the BBC still weren’t properly archiving their shit.

    They taped over their fucking Apollo 11 moon landing coverage. There’s no greater BBC tradition than taking incredibly valuable programs and erasing them forever.

  • NASA also taped over their own moon landing footage. I think all we have now is low-quality telerecordings.

  • Episode 1 – one character crawls around a ventilation shaft and another tells the story of a love affair that resulted in his claustrophobia. Episode 2 – characters watch a washing machine as though it’s a television. I’m quite disappointed not to find any Duct Soup parallels in episode 3, but hopeful that the old people’s home will be on a collision course with the sun in the next one. Anyway, I’m really enjoying this series so far. It’s got that nice balance of mundane and surreal and downright daft and Arnold is a very good E. L. Wisty type.

  • Episode 1 has left BBC sounds already.

    I’m enjoying giving this series a listen. The complaining about peas counting in episode 3 feels like queeg’s cousin. 

  • Finally got around to listening to more Wrinkles today. The “compute” gag from Queeg is in episode 4, as is “Eau de Dead Fish”. Not as funny as yak urine, but still. Unfortunately the version of the episode on BBC Sounds is a really ropey recording. The one available to download here on G&T is much better. 

  • Oh wow, surprising that G&T have it in higher quality than the BBC…

    Makes me wonder, which episode in Series 1 is the other newly found one? I would have thought it was 4 just based on the audio quality on the BBC version.

  • Ah, cool, thanks clem.

    So that means I haven’t lost my opportunity to listen to episode 3 by waiting too long to finish it on BBC Sounds. Excellent.

  • Do BBC Sounds ever make things available to download? I spent 2 years trying to grab Toby Hadoke’s version of Nigel Kneale’s The Road.

  • Do BBC Sounds ever make things available to download? I spent 2 years trying to grab Toby Hadoke’s version of Nigel Kneale’s The Road.

    Isn’t it the same deal as Spotify? You can download to your device to listen ‘offline’, but still only within the confines of the app.

  • Shows how much I pay attention.

    Then you said “well it probably is déja vu”.

    Well it probably *is* deja vu, it sounds like it. 🙄

  • The repetitious conversations got a bit tiresome by the end but I’ll keep listening.

    Just listened to episode 1, and found it to be mostly tedious, with the aforementioned repetition being a key reason. ‘Superlative’ it was not (to these ears). The human cannonball story was the highlight. 

    Is it worth persevering, or is it basically more of the same, and therefore maybe just not for me? 

  • “If I liked episode 1 of Wrinkles, is it worth continuing?”

    “Yeah.”

    “So episode 2 is just as good?”

    “Yeah.”

    “It doesn’t go downhill?”

    “No.”

    “So it’s worth listening to more episodes?”

    “Yeah.”

    “Episodes 2 through 6?”

    “Yeah.”

    “If I liked episode 1, you’d recommend it?”

    “Yeah.”

    “The jokes are just as good in episode 2?”

    “Yeah.”

    “… I didn’t like episode 1.”

  • Is it worth persevering, or is it basically more of the same, and therefore maybe just not for me?

    I listened to all of G&T’s episodes around the time I found the Dwarfcasts (2008/9), it didn’t do much for me. I’m a philistine when it comes to pre-Young Ones sitcoms generally though.

  • “Will Unrumble be joining us for Wrinkles tonight, Tom?”

    “I don’t think so, Winston. He doesn’t like it.”

    “Doesn’t like it?! Whyever not?”

    “He says it’s too repetitive.”

    “Too repetitive?! That’s no reason at all! Why, I’ve experienced far worse hardships in my time! You don’t get to be in the secret service for 35 years without growing a thicker skin now, do you, Tom?”

    “I just don’t think it’s his cup of tea, is all.”

    “Not his cup of tea? Outrageous! With all the suffering in the world, Unrumble is complaining about having to drink Builder’s Breakfast instead of Earl Grey? Why, if I’d complained about getting the wrong type of tea in the service, I wouldn’t have lasted 5 weeks! Outrageous, Tom!”

  • Well I’m still enjoying it. More RD parallels: Arnold wants to be called “Arnie” in Episode 5, and in Episode 6 Tom can’t get the bus to start and suspects Mrs A has spring-cleaned the engine (turns out she’s just thrown it away) 

  • It’s not to everyone’s taste, but I really like ‘Wrinkles;’ it’s obviously a fledgling effort but it has its own charms and David Ross alone is worth listening to.

    In fact, all of the Grant/Naylor radio stuff is worth a listen, even ‘Wally Who?’ which is probably the least of them but still has its moments. ‘Son of Cliche’ is the king, though.

  • I have been a fan of Wrinkles for years ever since I downloaded them from this site many moons ago so hearing new episodes has been a superlative treat

    I decided to see if there was any differences with the version of episode 3 “The Camel” on BBC Sounds and it sounds to me like it has some kind of filter put on top of it maybe done during the restoration and the version held in the download section is thankfully in a much clearer quality.
    Hoping the missing series 2 episode is recovered along with those missing Wally Who? episodes

    I’m pretty sure there were only ever six episodes, all of which we have.

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