The BBC Television Archive

The BBC Television Archive

An interview with Adam Lee, BBC archive expert

We haven't got copies of everything we've broadcast in the archive. Find out why we've got the items we've got and how the BBC tries to keep them safe in this interview with Adam Lee, BBC Television Archive expert.


Once the technology was available, why weren't all programmes recorded?

One of the reasons why TV programmes weren't recorded is that people really didn't think in that way. They didn't see television as a permanent medium. They saw it as something that was transmitted, went out live, and was finished. A bit like if you go to the theatre, you don't expect to see a recording of that theatre performance. There's quite a well-known book of television criticism written in the early 1960s called 'The Ephemeral Art', because that's how people viewed it: as something that went out and was gone.

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