March 6, 2008
Restoring Old Episodes Of Doctor Who
There's a great article in The Guardian today about the work that the BBC are doing in restoring colour copies of some of their old TV shows:
Many television programmes made by the BBC and ITV in the late 1960s and early 70s, although some of the first to be made in colour, only exist in black and white today. Among them are 13 episodes of Doctor Who starring Jon Pertwee, another 13 episodes of Steptoe and Son and the whole of Nigel Kneale's seminal 60s drama, The Year of the Sex Olympics.
The original master tapes of many shows were erased during archive purges. However, before wiping, many were copied on to black and white 16mm film for broadcast in countries where colour television was not yet available. Today, it is these black and white films that survive as the only visual records of some of these programmes.
"Archive purges"! What were they thinking?! Couldn't they have just extended the warehouse or something? The mind boggles.