Basil Brush and Tiswas to be ‘saved’ for the nation

Tiswas among TV shows to be digitally saved
Tiswas among TV shows to be digitally saved

Thousands of classic TV shows are to be archived digitally before they are lost forever.

British Film Institute is to use £13.5 million of Lottery funding to preserve 100,000 programmes - including those believed to be “at risk” - according to BFI creative director Heather Stewart. The shows in line for digitising include anarchic kids’ TV show Tiswas (here subject of a quiz to test your Saturday morning memories) featuring Chris Tarrant, Lenny Henry, Frank Carson, Sally James and Spit The Dog.

Another high-profile puppet set to be preserved is Basil Brush (also sampled), who with a variety of sidekicks including Derek Foulds and Roy North, attracted audiences of up to 13 million in the 1970s.


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Indeed, it’s children’s TV which features heavily in the preservation ‘order’ - including the BBC’s art-oriented show Vision On, presented by Tony Hart, and How, an educational ITV show with multiple hosts including Fred Dinenage.

Fans of tartan-clad popsters the Bay CIty Rollers will also be able to relive their childhoods with digital re-runs of 1975’s Shang-a-Lang.

However, there are some more adult-oriented programmes scheduled to be archived - Do Not Adjust Your Set and At Last the 1948 Show are two 1960s comedy programmes featuring many of the Monty Python team.

There’s also current affairs of the day, in the form of the BBC’s teatime magazine show Nationwide, and Channel 4’s The Bandung File and Eastern Eye as well as C4’s entire first week of programming from 1982.

And Mr and Mrs - an early marriage-themed quiz show - will also get the digital treatment. The plan is part of the BFI's five-year strategy for 2017-2022.

"Material from the 70s and early 80s is at risk," said Mrs Stewart. "It has a five or six-year shelf life and if we don't do something about it will just go, no matter how great the environment is we keep it in. Our job is make sure that things are there in 200 years' time."