I seem to recall that the BBC were ready to destroy the original Monty Python masters had not one of the Pythons stepped in to fund the cost of preservation.
Most famously they destroyed the January 1963 performance of the play "Madhouse On Castle Street" which included a young Bob Dylan performing four songs including what would have been the first television or radio performance of "Blowin' In The Wind." The destruction was done in 1968, long after Dylan had achieved worldwide fame!
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From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of CJB
Sent: Wednesday, April 01, 2015 05:48 AM
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Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Disasters at Commercial Archives
Of course there was the unmitigated disaster of the BBC junking many of its archives including whole series of Doctor Who, to say nothing of numerous comedy series such as Dads's Army. And their radio archives were similarly junked, especially anything to do with the genre of 'folk.'
All of this was in the 1970s/80s/90s.
The Beeb even produced radio programmes about its lost archives.
The scandal is that many 'lost' programmes were home-taped by enthusiasts. These are regularly found and offered back to the Beeb.
Most returns are declined unless they are commercially valuable such as Clitheroe Kid, Navy Lark, etc.
So the programmes then start to appear on various torrent and usenet sites. But then the uploaders are served with 'take down' notices - even if the Beeb has refused acceptance of 'lost' recordings it doesn't itself have.
These websites explain more ...