Living, Breathing Archives

As more and more revenue can now be generated from a broadcasters archives, the BBC must be absolutely sickened by the amount of old TV shows – Doctor Who is just one in a long list – that they trashed in order to reuse tape or even just space in a room of shelves.

Curiously however a considerable set of one offs and single episodes still exist, raising questions as to what the policy for trashing really was back in the 1960s and 1970s. The Independent ran an article recently which looks at how archives can be managed for future generations – but it misses the point of actually utilising the archives in favour of a lengthy chat about stuff that is missing and how historians might treat the content.

With a bit of audio visual tidying up of the surviving material there are a lot of opportunities for both the BBC and ITV to benefit from the vast array of gems that still exist in their archives. Shows that have previously been released on DVD can now be offered at relatively little expense by being streamed online.

All of this would work wonderfully if offered online with a bit of visual or audio enhancement such as the audio description service that is now available on iPlayer – imagine the benefit to a hearing impaired person being able to fully enjoy an episode of Doctor Who that they watched as a frustrated child, 30 years on?

In the meantime, modern Doctor Who and other popular shows are available via Blinkbox and other services…

Christian Cawley

A long-term Doctor Who fan, Christian grew up watching the show and has early memories of the Graham Williams era. His favourite stories are Inferno, The Seeds of Doom and Human Nature (although The Empty Child, Blink and Utopia all come close). When he’s not bossing around the news team, Christian is a freelance writer specialising in mobile technology and domestic computing, and enjoys classic rock, cooking and spending time in the countryside with his wife and young children. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

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