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In 1975 at the Montreal ARSC/IASA I met Timothy Eckersley, the longtime
BBC Archivist who was soon to retire.  He explained to me that the BBC
Archive was the ultimate in accessibility  -- that is, they knew where
everything was because they had held it to a manageable size.  He
explained that because the BEEB produced so much material the way they
controlled the size of the archive was to save only four hours of new
material per week. He proudly said that they considered its historical
and political significance, and that items of popular programming were
only saved in samples of perhaps one episode of a series.  He was rather
proud of that.

I found it ironic that when "The Goon Show Companion" was published a
year later it had a complete detailed log of every program with all the
disc or tape catalog numbers no matter whether the program existed or
was destroyed. It seems that the BBC cataloging system was so perfect
that there would have been no problem in keeping track of where
everything is without destroying 99% of it. It would only be a matter of
warehousing. From Mr. Eckersley's demeanor it seemed to me that he was
most proud of having saved posterity from so much low-class material. 

When we had our tour of the BBC Archive in the 2001 ARSC/IASA conference
I mentioned Mr. Eckersley's boast and was assured that this was no
longer the attitude of the Beeb.  HAH!

Mike Biel  [log in to unmask] 


> On Thu, Apr 2, 2015 at 9:51 PM, Frank Scott <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
>> 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!
>>
>> Frank Scott
>> Roots & Rhythm

>>
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From:  CJB
>> Sent: Wednesday, April 01, 2015 05:48 AM

>> 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 ...
>>
>> http://missingepisodes.proboards.com/
>>
>> http://wipednews.com/
>>
>> CJB.
>>