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Thread: Moonstrike

  1. #1
    Member Country: England bobs1900's Avatar
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    Hi,



    Does anyone remember a BBC Drama Series called "MOONSTRIKE", from what I remember myself it was shown on BBC 1 in about 1963.

    This is what IDMB states "Anthology series of one-off thrillers about the covert activities of Allied agents and resistance operatives in occupied Europe during the Second World War" Apparently there were 27 episodes of 50 min.



    It was about the exploits of SOE (Special Operations Executive) which was formed by Sir Winston Churchill in July 1940.



    One of the two producers was Gerard Glaister who went on to producer excellent drama on British TV, including COLDTZ in 1972 and SECRET ARMY in 1977.



    Does anyone know what happened to MOONSTRIKE. I have contacted the BBC several times to see if these episodes still exist, but have never had any reply.



    I believe that this was about the time when the BBC systemically recorded over the tapes for new programmes, so I think they are lost forever unless someone out there has the drama in their back shed.



    Anyway, want to see if anyone can remember this TV drama.



    Thanks,



    bobs1900

  2. #2
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    I don't remember it personally, but Halliwell's TV Companion says:-



    MOONSTRIKE (GB 1963) BBC series about the RAF squadron which landed agents in Eupope during WWII and brought others back to England; well written by Robert Barr but handicapped by low budget and, despite resourceful special effects by Jack Kline, the fact that no Lysander aircraft (the type used) was then flying. Ironically, one was restored too late to take part

  3. #3
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    Originally posted by bobs1900@Mar 16 2005, 03:42 AM

    Hi,



    Does anyone remember a BBC Drama Series called "MOONSTRIKE", from what I remember myself it was shown on BBC 1 in about 1963.

    This is what IDMB states "Anthology series of one-off thrillers about the covert activities of Allied agents and resistance operatives in occupied Europe during the Second World War" Apparently there were 27 episodes of 50 min.



    It was about the exploits of SOE (Special Operations Executive) which was formed by Sir Winston Churchill in July 1940.



    One of the two producers was Gerard Glaister who went on to producer excellent drama on British TV, including COLDTZ in 1972 and SECRET ARMY in 1977.



    Does anyone know what happened to MOONSTRIKE. I have contacted the BBC several times to see if these episodes still exist, but have never had any reply.



    I believe that this was about the time when the BBC systemically recorded over the tapes for new programmes, so I think they are lost forever unless someone out there has the drama in their back shed.



    Anyway, want to see if anyone can remember this TV drama.



    Thanks,



    bobs1900




    I remember this series well from my young childhood. For someone brought up on Commando and War Library comics this was fascinating stuff. One of the things that stand out in my memory is watching the credits go up and seeing the name A.A.Englander as cinematographer. Even then I was absorbing trivia. To make certain that my mind wasn't playing games I checked the IMDB and there he was. Unfortunately he died in January last year. There was no record of him filming Moonstrike so I sent in an update.



    Here is a superbly informative link to the series Moonstrike:

    Action TV Online - Moonstrike episode guide





    And here is a synopsis of A.A.Englander from another web link:



    Adolf Arthur Englander (born July 15, 1915; died January 29 2004) was a British television cinematographer, one of the most respected in the field of his generation, and the first film cameraman to work seriously in the field of television in the UK, which for much of its early period almost exclusively employed electronic cameras.

    Englander was born in London during a First World War Zeppelin raid, and during the 1930s came to be referred to by his initials "AA" due to the unsavorary connections between his first name and that of Adolf Hitler, and his dislike for the middle name. He was also often referred to by the nickname "Tubby".

    He began his career after leaving school at the age of fifteen in 1930, and initially worked in the film industry at the Stoll Film Studios in Cricklewood. Here he worked first as a clapper boy, then during the course of the decade worked his way up to become magazine loader and then an assistant cameraman. At the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, he joined the Royal Fusiliers, but was quickly seconded to the army's film unit, making documentary and propaganda films.

    After the end of the war in 1945 he continued working in documentaries until he joined BBC Television in 1952, becoming one of the Corporation's few film cameramen. At the time, film was mainly used by the BBC for shooting documentaries, news reports and short external scenes for dramas and other programmes, with the majority of programming being transmitted live from electronic video cameras.

    It was the acquisition of staff of Englander's talent that increased the use of film at the BBC, and in 1956 the Corporation also acquired the Ealing Studios complex, which it turned into a dedicated studio for making inserts for television programmes, and increasingly entire programmes themselves, on film.

    Englander worked on film inserts for highly prestigious BBC dramas such as Rudolph Cartier's Quatermass and the Pit (1958-59) and Anna Karenina (1961), and later programmes such as Doctor Who, Colditz and Maigret. Even after the era of live television had passed in the early 1960s, the BBC still shot the majority of its fiction programmes on videotape, with film inserts used only for location material and difficult-to-shoot sequences, until the late 1980s. He also worked on highly prestigious all-film documentary series such as Civilisation (1969) and Alistair Cooke's America (1973).

    BBC regulations stipulate that all employees must retire at sixty, and Englander was reluctantly forced to comply with this rule in 1975. Following his retirement from the Corporation he worked for some time as a freelance lighting cameraman.

    He died at the age of eighty-nine of natural causes, remembered by many as one of the finest film cameramen ever to work in the medium of television, a remarkable achievement in an age when film was comparatively little-used on the small screen.

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    I do remember the series (1962-63?), in particular the theme music, which after all these years is still very clear in my mind. Although my parents wouldn't allow me to watch the show as I was "too young" and the program was too "violent," my grandparents allowed me to watch it a few times... and I always heard the theme music from behind a closed sitting room door (a french horn solo - rather haunting... I wish I knew if it was an original piece written for the show or adapted from some other piece). I assume it was broadcast on the then ITV channel - one of two that were available... oh how simple life was then!

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    i remember that as a kid..seemed like every episode was in a field at night, shining a torch at a lysander



    if only series like this were repeated on the box..i'd be glued to it every night.



    regards,

    jim.

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    name='bobs1900']Hi,



    Does anyone remember a BBC Drama Series called "MOONSTRIKE", from what I remember myself it was shown on BBC 1 in about 1963.

    This is what IDMB states "Anthology series of one-off thrillers about the covert activities of Allied agents and resistance operatives in occupied Europe during the Second World War" Apparently there were 27 episodes of 50 min.



    It was about the exploits of SOE (Special Operations Executive) which was formed by Sir Winston Churchill in July 1940.



    One of the two producers was Gerard Glaister who went on to producer excellent drama on British TV, including COLDTZ in 1972 and SECRET ARMY in 1977.



    Does anyone know what happened to MOONSTRIKE. I have contacted the BBC several times to see if these episodes still exist, but have never had any reply.



    I believe that this was about the time when the BBC systemically recorded over the tapes for new programmes, so I think they are lost forever unless someone out there has the drama in their back shed.



    Anyway, want to see if anyone can remember this TV drama.



    Thanks,



    bobs1900
    I remember this well and was 8-9 years old when it was on, what I remember most was the title "Moonstrike". I asked my father why it was called that, he had been in 6th Airborne during the war and had thus had parachute traing.



    The reson he gave was that for the RAF to drop an SOE agent or land a plane at night a full moon or there abiuts was required.

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    Yes. I remember this series but most of all I remember the theme music. It was a French Horn solo called 'Hunter's Moon' by Gilbert Vinter. The reason that I remember it so well is because I sent for the sheet music, which I still have, and have played on the cornet. It sounds far better on the French Horn but I am not sufficiently expert on that instrument to do it justice

  8. #8
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    name='photosnapper']Yes. I remember this series but most of all I remember the theme music. It was a French Horn solo called 'Hunter's Moon' by Gilbert Vinter. The reason that I remember it so well is because I sent for the sheet music, which I still have, and have played on the cornet. It sounds far better on the French Horn but I am not sufficiently expert on that instrument to do it justice


    It helps to be left handed to play the French Horn well.

    The right hand just acts as a mute in the bell. It's the left hand that does all the fiddly bits on the keys



    Steve

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    I was very lucky to be part of the BBC's archive TV access trial last year and a couple of episodes of Moonstrike were offered for viewing. A nice series. I wouldn't mind seeing more.

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    name='plasticjock']Adolf Arthur Englander (born July 15, 1915; died January 29 2004) was a British television cinematographer, one of the most respected in the field of his generation, and the first film cameraman to work seriously in the field of television in the UK, which for much of its early period almost exclusively employed electronic cameras.

    .... He also worked on highly prestigious all-film documentary series such as Civilisation (1969) and Alistair Cooke's America (1973).

    BBC regulations stipulate that all employees must retire at sixty, and Englander was reluctantly forced to comply with this rule in 1975. Following his retirement from the Corporation he worked for some time as a freelance lighting cameraman.

    He died at the age of eighty-nine of natural causes, remembered by many as one of the finest film cameramen ever to work in the medium of television, a remarkable achievement in an age when film was comparatively little-used on the small screen.


    Thank you for this synopsis of AA Englander's career. I have often wondered about who he was etc. That he was a superbly gifted artist is clear from Civilisation and i have marvelled at his work on that series - which, IMHO, is, along with Ascent of Man, the pinnacle of factual television. A feast for the mind and the eye. I recommend the DVDs of both series and AA Englander's work on Civilisation makes a superb series even more so, IMHO.

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    I would LOVE to see an episode of Moonstrike again. I can just about remember it from the sixties. Did it always start with a Lysander taking off on a grass strip.?

    I remember it always being very tense. Would the agent be able to get in the aircraft and get airbourne before the Gerries arrived !!



    We always used to watch it, because my Dad flew Stirlings on SOE ops during the war and used to drop agents and containers to the Resistance in France and Norway.

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    Heya... my first post. I found this site because I was trying to trace Moonstrike. I remember it well. My mum was french and we watched it religiously. It's only since I've grown up ( so to speak) that I have discovered how close to the real 'resistance action' she was in occupied France. She was 12 at the beginning of the war and 17 at the end. Kids of that age know what's going on, if they want to. She wanted to. I have since discovered that lots of her relatives were in the resistance as well as some of her friends. How close to home Moonstrike must have seemed to her. How can we get the BBC to replay the series. Heaven knows, they have enough channels to broadcast it? Pete ps... Oh, I also play the French Horn, coincidence?

  13. #13
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    There have been various other threads on this particular series. It appears that all of the episodes have been wiped apart from three which the BBC still hold.



    I doubt that they will ever be repeated and presumably it would not be economical to issued DVDs. Collectors would no doubt snap them up but unfortunately it takes much more than "a handful" of collectors to make a commercially viable project.

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    Only three episodes is better than none. For all those folks with dads in SOE or me with a mum in occupied france or just for the sake of a good TV. What about a remake, the scripts must still be around

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    Just discovered this site. I too have been searching for Moonstrike details and have learned more in 10 mins. from this forum than anywhere else. I can vividly remember watching each episode with trepidation as a 11/12 year old. Scared of the Gestapo and willing the "maquis" to succeed with their operation - always confirmed by BBC "personal message" (DON'T LEAVE THE TUNER DIAL ON LONDON!! or the Gestapo will spot it!!!). Whilst I would love to see the original episodes even if there are only 3 remaining, I wouldn't mind betting that the plots were largely copied in Secret Army - Gerald Glaister writing/producing both.

  16. #16
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    name='Beattheban']Just discovered this site. I too have been searching for Moonstrike details and have learned more in 10 mins. from this forum than anywhere else. I can vividly remember watching each episode with trepidation as a 11/12 year old. Scared of the Gestapo and willing the "maquis" to succeed with their operation - always confirmed by BBC "personal message" (DON'T LEAVE THE TUNER DIAL ON LONDON!! or the Gestapo will spot it!!!). Whilst I would love to see the original episodes even if there are only 3 remaining, I wouldn't mind betting that the plots were largely copied in Secret Army - Gerald Glaister writing/producing both.


    I have just found this site and I too have fond memories of watching this programme with my Dad back in the day.

    I have been looking for info for many years but was labouring under the misapprehension that the programme was called Moonlight.

    I notice mention of three episodes being extant but can't see the original reference.

    Anyone, any ideas?

    Thanks.

  17. #17
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    name='tonyrg317dz']I remember this well and was 8-9 years old when it was on, what I remember most was the title "Moonstrike". I asked my father why it was called that, he had been in 6th Airborne during the war and had thus had parachute traing.



    The reson he gave was that for the RAF to drop an SOE agent or land a plane at night a full moon or there abiuts was required.




    The aircraft was a single engine with a poorly fitting sliding hatch at the top from where they climbed in, i remember they always just managed to take off just in time before they were shot at.

    The airfield would usually be out in the country somewhere and the program was very tense and felt real.



    Richard, rchwha

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