SELECTED highlights from the treasure-trove of early British TV dramas unearthed at the Library of Congress are to be screened by the BFI.
Over 100 hours of lost British TV dramas were discovered in the archives of The Library of Congress (LOC) last year, in what was hailed as the “most important” retrieval of material since the search for such footage began.
Now, the British Film Institute (BFI), which orchestrated the recovery of the shows from America, has announced that it set to screen a number of the recovered gems during a two-month season dedicated to the finds.
UnLOCked: The Library of Congress Discoveries runs across June and July at BFI Southbank, with the first month dedicated to 20th century dramas and the second focused on pre-20th century.
Screenings scheduled for June are as follows: Theatre 625: “World of George Orwell – 1984”, Theatre 625: “Dr Knock” (starring Leonard Rossiter), Twentieth Century Theatre: “Colombe” (starring Sean Connery), Play of the Week: “The Typewriter” (starring Jeremy Brett), and Twentieth Century Theatre: The Insect Play.
Dick Fiddy of the BFI says the forthcoming season demonstrates the institute’s determination to provide access to the finds.
He said: “When such material is found, there are concerns expressed in some quarters that the footage will just disappear into various archives,
never to see the light of day, partly because of the perceived reluctance on the part of broadcasters and product releasers to exploit vintage black-and-white material.
“Indeed, many similar titles to those found in the LOC have survived intact but remain unseen and unreleased on archive shelves.
“However, the BFI – which has mounted numerous
seasons over the years to exploit such materials and encouraged various regional venues to do the same – was determined to provide access to these finds.
“Accordingly, June sees the launch of a two-month season of highlights from the collection, which will then be followed by regular screenings of further titles through various stranded programming.”
Lost Sean Connery TV footage found in US – BBC News (September 14, 2010)
Footage of British stars unearthed in lost archive in America – The Telegraph (September 14, 2010).