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BFI to convert old TV shows to digital format

ShowbizBy Sunday World
BFI to convert old TV shows to digital format

The British Film Institute (BFI) are set to convert old British television programmes into digital formats before they are lost forever.

Classic television shows such as BBC's 'The Basil Brush Show' and ITV's 'Tiswas' are among those in line for preservation on a digital format, as hard copies such as VHS tapes only have a "five or six-year shelf life" and will be long gone if they're not digitised.

Heather Stewart, creative director for the BFI, said in a statement: "Material from the 70s and early 80s is at risk.

"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."

In total, the BFI has set aside £13.5 million of Lottery funding in order to work on making the UK's entire screen heritage available in a digital format."

Around a whopping 100,000 of British television episodes and clips held on obsolete video formats are expected to be converted.

Other programmes to be converted to this format include 'Do Not Adjust Your TV Set', an ITV comedy series starring Michael Palin and Eric Idle, Granada Television's 1975 music show 'Shang-a-Lang', and 'Vision On', which is a BBC children's programme aimed at those who have a hearing impairment.

Heather continued: "The whole infrastructure in relation to video is just disappearing.

"There are technicians who want to retire. We can't let them go until we've got this stuff off these two-inch and one-inch formats.

"There's a limited pool of people who know how to do it. There's a limited pool of machines. The guy who runs the archive is collecting the stuff from car boot sales."

The news comes as part of the BFI's five-year strategic plan for 2017-2022 which will see the investment of almost £500 million for UK film.