An archive of previously unseen material from some of Britain's most famous comedians will be released next month.

Over the past 18 months, theatre collective Rain Stops Play Productions, in collaboration with student troupe the Oxford Revue, has been putting together the Oxford Comedy Archive - a non-profit collection and educational resource.

It includes extracts such as the 1958 Edinburgh Fringe show, 'All For Money', which includes the earliest recorded comedy from Dudley Moore, and a 1978 sketch written by Richard Curtis, which was the prototype for the series 'Blackadder'.

Recordings also feature a number of 1979 Rowan Atkinson material, from the well-known 'Schoolmaster' sketch to never-released-before performances in the Oxford Playhouse show 'Inferiors'.

The launch of the Oxford Comedy Archive will be on the July 18, as part of Rain Stop Play's comedy cabaret evening 'Live and Peculiar - The Aestival Festival' at The Jericho Tavern in Oxford.

The archive also provides a thorough and fully referenced written account telling the story of Oxford as a microcosm of British comedy.

This information will be supplemented by more than 11 hours of exclusive audio interviews with the likes of Mr Atkinson, Michael Palin, Emma Kennedy, and others.

The archive will expose strange truths about many figures in British comedy - from a fist-fighting Simon Munnery, to a roller-skating Ian Hislop, and Richard Curtis's bet with a chilli-pepper-wielding ice cream man.