For years little thought was given to what
happened to the programmes after they had been broadcast , people either
didn't care (thinking it culturally insignificant) or assumed it was all
stored away somewhere should it ever be wanted again.
this was not the case...
In the 1970's a considerable amount of our TV heritage was destroyed, B&W episodes (as well as some colour ) were junked , apparently to make room for more recent and, as they saw it, potentially more lucrative productions in the vaults.
Although unthinkable now, not least by the companies who make a considerable amount of money from the sale of videos and overseas rights, these episodes were destroyed as they could see no further use for them.
It was felt at the time that repeats of the black and white material would not be of sufficient interest to the general public, who were now used to full colour episodes, and that overseas sales of these episodes had met their full potential.
Opportunities for domestic repeats were also limited due to the artists contracts.
The videotapes were wiped, the film copies used as landfill or
burned, hours upon hours of our favourite TV shows from Doctor Who to
Dad's Army and Z-Cars were lost forever.
Or were they?
Often programs were transferred to film for sale overseas and it is
this that gives us hope that one day the shows will live again, although
foreign broadcasters were supposed to either return the prints to be
destroyed or destroy them themselves once they had been shown, this
often did not happen.
Films escaped on to the collector circuit or
were filed away and forgotten in the vaults of TV stations worldwide.
Episodes have been recovered from both these sources many times
throughout the years and hopefully will continue to be for many years to
This website lists the episodes for popular shows that have no known
existing copies and hopes to spread the word about the plight of our TV
archives so that any episodes still out there may be returned to safety
as the BBC and other broadcasters are keen to fill the gaps in their
Can I Help?
You can help by spreading the word far and
wide, even if you don't have any episodes you may know someone who does.
Episodes may exist in many forms, the ones most likely to be in the
hands of the public are
16 & 35mm Film Recordings
like they used to show at the cinema on those big projectors, here are 2
examples of what to look out for.
1.A 16mm film can, this one as been to New Zealand as it bears an NZBC
2.A close up of a Label from a BBC film reel
Reel to Reel and early video tapes
Though rare, video recorders were available to homes in the sixties and
programmes may still exist on the reel to reel tapes.
think you may have something of interest do not hesitate to contact us
this site only lists a small fraction of all the archive material
missing, so just because we don't mention it, Don't assume it exists.