Will future generations be able to remember important BBC television episodes that are lost forever? If researchers at the BBC have anything to do with it, then yes.
Helen Papadopoulos (the Project Manager) has been set the task of chronicling a complete and comprehensive broadcast history by the BBC from its inception in 1922, the results will then be published online for the public to view and theyâ€™re getting the episode information from back issues of the Radio Times.
Many of the BBCâ€™s early broadcasts were wiped from their archives to make space for newer shows. It was only in the 1970â€™s that they decided to keep their original broadcasts for future generations to enjoy (thank goodness, imagine if theyâ€™d deleted Genesis of the Daleks, Earthshock or – even worse – The Twin Dilemma!). This means that classic BBC shows such as Hancockâ€™s Half Hour and Doctor Who are missing episodes from their earlier series – in particular a massive portion of episodes from 1966-1969 covering Patrick Troughton’s tenure as the Second Doctor.
In many cases, Radio Times contains the only information known about the episodes, writing on a BBC blog, Helen commented:
“It contains a record of everything we intended to broadcast – even if what actually went on air wasn’t what we planned to show – and it is in a structure and format that people readily recognise, with basic but consistent details for all programmes, along with regional variations… In less than a year we expect the Radio Times digitisation project to be completed and for the first time there will be, in one place, a comprehensive record of every programme.”
Soon, nearly 400, 000 pages from the popular television magazine will be available online.
Check the BBC website at www.bbc.co.uk for more details.