The British Film Institute announced a five-year plan yesterday that includes the promise to digitize and preserve at least 100,000 “at-risk” TV shows. The shows span genres, and include comedies, dramas, documentary series, children’s TV, and “breakfast television.” You likely haven’t heard of most of these shows, as they date back to the 1960s, but just for fun, here’s a few: At Last the 1948 Show, Basil Brush, and Nationwide. The institute hasn’t determined all 100,000 titles yet, but plans to work with broadcast partners to assess the programs most in need of being digitized.
BFI’s creative director told the BBC that these videos are on old, one-inch and two-inch formats and that only a select group of people know how to handle these recordings. It also so happens that these same people want to retire soon. That reality, coupled with the fact that only a limited number of machines can play these formats is why BFI is making this plan a priority. Less required physical shortage space isn’t such a bad thing, either.