Michael J Bird Tribute Website

News from the Michael J Bird Website
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May 2015

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THE LOTUS EATERS: Contemporary feature article

I recently picked up on e-Bay a copy of the UK magazine "Weekend" from July 1973 which includes a centre page spread about Ian Hendry coping with life after the death of Janet Munro. Hendry had just finished filming the second series of Michael Bird's The Lotus Eaters. The series gets a couple of mentions and the piece is ilustrated by a few stills from episodes.

I have added a scan of the article to the Lotus Eaters section of the website.


Website visiter Mike Ripley tells me that when he and Peter Mitchell started working on "Callan Uncovered" there was some dispute as to exactly how many short stories James Mitchell had actually written. Some sources said eight, others a dozen or fourteen. There was no indication in the papers left by James Mitchell following his death in 2002. In the end, with the help of Callan fans and the British Library, Mike says they collected 25 stories (and an un-filmed script from the TV series) and were pretty pleased with themselves.

However, within a week of Callan Uncovered being published they were contacted by another Callan fan who tipped them off to the possibility of ten more stories and so it was back to the British Library, to track them down, only to discover a further five stories from 1970!

And so, Mike says, Callan Uncovered 2 became not just a possibility but more or less inevitable, and will be published as an Ostara Original at the end of the month. It will contain not only the 15 “missing files” (all the Callan stories were labelled “files” following the first, The File on the Happy Hippy) but two reconstructed scripts of episodes from the first and second television series.

Both James Mitchell’s scripts – 'Goodness Burns Too Bright' from 1967 and 'Blackmailers Should Be Discouraged' from 1969 – had to be reconstructed from technical ‘shooting scripts’ used in the original recordings at ABC TV’s Teddington Lock studios as none of Mitchell’s original ‘dramatic’ scripts survived. It was only thanks to a dedicated Callan fan who spotted a job-lot of old ‘camera scripts’ for sale on eBay three years ago, that these did and they have a particularly poignant value in that the actual episodes were recorded on video-tapes which were subsequently wiped and re-used so that no actual recordings are known to survive.

Callan Uncovered 2 - watch out for it.


I received an email recently from a website visitor living in Norway. Surprisingly this approach had nothing whatsoever to do with Maelstrom: he was looking for a copy of Michael Bird's Yorkshire Television series The Winning Streak. It turned out that he is now the owner of one of the 6R4's used in the series, which he tells me was parked up in a shed for 12 years before he found it and is currently being restored at Ramsport.com in Wales.

He kindly sent me some photographs of the car which I have added to the Winning Streak pages on the website.

IAN HENDRY - This is Your Life!



Over at the Ian Hendry website they have posted the full episode of "This Is Your Life: Ian Hendry" from 1978.

I have added a link to the recording on the Lotus Eaters cast page.

Michael Bird has added another of his father's books to the collection available for the Kindle.

"The Secret Battalion" is one of Bird's earlier books and unrelated to any TV series. Michael tells me he plans to release "Foreign Office Confidential" next. I really have a soft spot for that book.

Thanks to everyone who responded to the plug in the last newsletter for my son James' first novel, Alice and The Fly. Obviously I knew he was a great writer (because I am his dad and that's the law) but it was encouraging to read so many rave reviews in the media, including this one from The Guardian which caused me to swell up so much I nearly burst.

Michael J Bird Tribute Website

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