Friday, 2 December 2016

ha ha ha! boom! boom!

In order to salvage TV Land’s threatened heritage, the British Film Institute has concocted an ambitious five year strategy, as the Verge informs, to conserve and digitise over a hundred thousand “at risk” programmes. Episodes from arcane but memorable children’s shows, documentaries, breakfast-time spots from the 1950s to the early 1980s are in danger of being lost to future generations as the antiquated storage media continues to degrade—shelf-life being a consideration no matter how good the environment is—and the loss of institutional knowledge and wherewithal as those familiar with the archives and format are retiring.
Among the titles set to be saved are, in the category of children’s programming, shows include Basil Brush (pictured) and Shang-a-Lang featuring the musical stylings of Bay City Rollers. There’s also At Last the 1948 Show from 1967 is a comedy starring John Cleese before joining the troupe that became Monty Python’s Flying Circus and a marriage quiz show from the same year called Mister and Missus, which might illicit some cringes and not everything retro is worthy of our nostalgia but from an ethnographic and historical standpoint it’s really an invaluable glimpse into our collective, formative pasts. Do you remember any of these shows mentioned here and at the links? I personally cannot claim myself as heir to this television legacy but my interest is a genuine one—and not an affection, like a semester abroad accent—and hope that the Telly will allow me to play along.