BBC sports archive

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gmg
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BBC sports archive

Post by gmg »

Wondering if anyone can help. I am a long time sports fan and have many happy memories over the past 35 years of watching sports like snooker, golf, tennis, darts amongst others on the BBC. Snooker is a particular passion of mine to such an extent that I’ve amassed quite a collection of old footage from the 1980’s. Most of it is sourced from fan recordings but in more recent times a source has retrieved a few forgotten obscurities from the BBC archives. What has become apparent from this, however, is that there are vast gaps in their archive. I had hoped this might be because it had been passed onto IMG who hold the rights to televise snooker on the Beeb nowadays but they also inform me that they have very little old footage and don’t hold the rights to it in any case. So I’m beginning to think that a lot of it has simply been dumped by the BBC and is potentially lost forever. The appearance of grainy off-air recordings on the BBC’s own Jocky Wilson documentary last year did nothing to ease my anxieties. If this is true then it is shocking when you consider that there was such an outcry in the 80’s and beyond in response to the BBC dumping programmes that they perceived to be of limited value. For the likes of myself some of these snooker matches are as valuable as old episodes of Doctor Who and Only Fools and Horses so if they have been dumped then the BBC really haven’t learnt their lesson. Obviously I’m aware of several projects from over the years focusing on what is and isn’t held in the BBC archives but this has tended to be restricted to their drama range etc and I’m wondering if anything similar has ever been carried out on their sports holdings?

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stearn
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Re: BBC sports archive

Post by stearn »

gmg wrote:
Fri Apr 10, 2020 4:52 pm
For the likes of myself some of these snooker matches are as valuable as old episodes of Doctor Who and Only Fools and Horses
You hit your own nail on the head. Value is a personal thing. Can everything be kept? - perhaps now, but certainly not way back, and if there was no reuse/resale potential, why take up resources when you can spend them on current programming. Even if the argument for recycling expensive tape isn't valid for the later periods, the storage and maintenance costs are not insignificant for what are essentially glorified ornaments. Rights are always a bugbear and, in many cases, have be the cause of the wiping rather than the willingness to keep something.

There are examples of most kinds of programming in the various archives, even if there are exceptions. What you also have to bear in mind is, just because a contemporary programme uses a grainy home recording, it doesn't mean that it all that is available, a master copy may sit on a shelf. Fair Use means that if you can source a copy, you can use it, within various limits, without having to pay for it. I'm lead to believe that there is no money in making TV (at least that is what people tell me when they want research done for nothing!), and everything has to be done on a shoe-string budget, so grab something of YouTube rather than pay per second for footage from an archive.

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Re: BBC sports archive

Post by gmg »

stearn wrote:
Fri Apr 10, 2020 5:34 pm
Rights are always a bugbear and, in many cases, have be the cause of the wiping rather than the willingness to keep something.
So does this essentially mean that the BBC can wipe their hands off dumping something when they don't own the rights? That explains why they've retained most of Pot Black, which was their own tournament but very little other snooker footage coverage. It still feels wrong though, especially when this stuff is unlikely to be held in any other archive. Worse still, most archive TV enthusiasts really don't seem to care at all, which means that (in direct contrast to their drama output) the BBC have gotten away with it without any repercussions. I'm still not actually sure who own the rights to old snooker coverage (or other sports coverage for that matter) but I doubt that any great archive of it has been retained by those who do hold the rights.

Mark Dowding
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Re: BBC sports archive

Post by Mark Dowding »

I wonder if the broadcasters kept the full recordings of football matches or reused the tapes once they'd edited the matches down to compile Match of the Day, The Big Match, and the other regional ITV football programmes. Were all the programmes kept on tape in the archive or just a selection of programmes? The archive is obviously used for look-back items like Match of the Seventies, etc or features on teams' histories on Football Focus but is it a limited resource before a certain date?

gmg
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Re: BBC sports archive

Post by gmg »

Mark Dowding wrote:
Fri Apr 10, 2020 11:59 pm
I wonder if the broadcasters kept the full recordings of football matches or reused the tapes once they'd edited the matches down to compile Match of the Day, The Big Match, and the other regional ITV football programmes. Were all the programmes kept on tape in the archive or just a selection of programmes? The archive is obviously used for look-back items like Match of the Seventies, etc or features on teams' histories on Football Focus but is it a limited resource before a certain date?
It appears to be mostly a limited resource of things that the BBC may have felt were reusable (i.e. finals or other memorable matches) but I have managed to get my hands on a few obscurities (including a couple of bits that I know were never broadcast) so there's no exact rhyme or reason to it all. In terms of things like Grandstand/ Sportsnight the BBC often only appear to have kept their own links along with a little bit of the sports footage that followed. I really do feel strong enough about this to want to be involved in some sort of preservation society, I wonder would the likes of Kaleidoscope have any interest in expanding into 'missing believed wiped' sports coverage.

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Re: BBC sports archive

Post by brigham »

I'm not sure that the BBC undertook to compile an archive of snooker tournaments in the first place. My understanding was that they televised those matches as part of their primary activity, which is broadcasting.
How someone can be taken to task for NOT doing something which was never agreed on anyway eludes me.

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Re: BBC sports archive

Post by gmg »

brigham wrote:
Sat Apr 11, 2020 7:27 am
I'm not sure that the BBC undertook to compile an archive of snooker tournaments in the first place. My understanding was that they televised those matches as part of their primary activity, which is broadcasting.
How someone can be taken to task for NOT doing something which was never agreed on anyway eludes me.
That's part of what I'm trying to establish here i.e. what were the BBC's exact responsibilities with regards to retaining their sports coverage. Even so, if they've got rid of any coverage whose survival is now dependent on off-air recordings then surely there's something wrong there too. For years I'd just assumed that all this stuff would be lying in an archive somewhere gathering dust but I'm amazed that archive TV fans seem to think I was living in cloud cuckoo land if I thought that to be the case. I still don't see why my assumption was such a stretch tbh, ITV seem to have retained most of their sports archive after all, I'm just curious in the first instance as to why the BBC wouldn't have done the same.

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Re: BBC sports archive

Post by stearn »

The idea they should be taken to task for something that wasn't their responsibility and they may have been expressly forbidden to do under whatever broadcasting rights agreement there was, is more than odd. Aim your ire at the sporting associations that control their sport and are ultimately responsible. You seem to be shooting the messenger.

The BBC can't just choose to turn up at a football stadium, point a camera, broadcast the match, and then keep a copy. They have to bid for the rights to do so, sign and contract and pay a fee. Whatever sports association runs the sport will be the ones who dictate what can and can't be done and, if anyone is directly responsible for archiving the material, it would be them, unless they had ensured it was within the contract.

Have ITV retained most of their sports archive? Where did you get that information?

I'm not a follower of any sport, but when footage comes up on the news, it is always attributed to a broadcaster now (usually courtesy of Sky). I do believe that clubs have made their own recordings in the past so they can review tactics etc., but it would be down to the clubs themselves what they did with the recordings.

Sport is more comparable with news output than drama (or something else that is potentially resaleable and repeatable). Snippets and highlights kept for future re-use and reference, but the majority binned as it will never be needed. Obviously that is annoying for those who want to relive the entire output of 1972, but there can't be many of those.

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Re: BBC sports archive

Post by gmg »

Is it really that odd to assume that the BBC would have maintained an archive of sporting footage that they originally broadcast and does it really matter how niche of an interest anything is? Of course there are key differences associated with rights etc but there are also echoes in this thread of why the BBC authorised the junking of old Doctor Who episodes in the 60’s and 70’s on the basis that nobody but the most obsessive elements of society could possibly be interested in THAT type of stuff. Surely if history has taught us anything it’s that the levels of appreciation for this stuff can change over time. Anyway, I’m not going to get into a tit-for-tat argument, I’m just keen for some transparency on what has and hasn’t been retained in the archives by the BBC and other organisations who may have responsibility for it. I e-mailed World Snooker earlier this week about this matter but have not heard back from them, I suspect they haven’t taken an active role in maintaining an archive until fairly recently and I’d be surprised now if I even hear back from them. ITV’s archive can be found at the following link btw:

http://www.itvsportarchive.com/

…which in itself begs the question of why they are allowed to keep an archive and the BBC aren’t.

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Re: BBC sports archive

Post by stearn »

Yes, it depended on the rights. Some junking was because it could never be used again whether that was unions protecting jobs for their members, authors instructions, it was crap, or it would be past it's sell-by date. Some things were not kept anyway as they were live broadcasts. Representative examples were held of most things for posterity, but the idea of keeping everything is a relatively new concept as technology makes it viable and costs reduce. To have kept everything that was made in say the 50s or 60s would have been prohibitively expensive and and would simply have meant the BBC would have shelves and shelves of stuff that was never going to see the light of day again, eating up budgets so nothing new could be produced. The BBC is a broadcaster and, until the late 80s, there wasn't anything in its charter about keeping anything.

Doctor Who is very well represented in the archives, far better than a lot of programmes.

As I said before, with sport, the rights would have been set by the sporting associations, and the BBC would have had to adhere to the letter of the contracts. If this meant only retaining small portions for onward use in retrospectives, news items, etc., then that would be all they could retain. If the sporting associations were that bothered about the recordings being kept, they would have made provision in the contracts so, in the case of sport, I feel the onus lies firmly with the sporting associations rather than the broadcaster, be that the BBC, ITV or the newer ones like SKY.

Looking at the Snooker content on the ITV archive, 1974 seems to be the earliest entry, and that is listed as highlights, 1983 also has highlights listed, 1987-88 Final Frames with comprehensive coverage only really kicking in late 80s and 90s. As I said above, the BBC Charter changed around 1988 to cover archiving so depending who made it and what rights were involved, you may find the BBC has just as good holdings.

As for why ITV were allowed to keep an archive and the BBC not - until you know exactly what is kept by each archive you can't really play one off against another, and in your first post you state they whilst most is from fan recordings, your source has got stuff from the BBC archives. They clearly do hold some material, so it wasn't a case of them not being allowed to keep stuff. They just haven't kept every second of every game.

Brian F
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Re: BBC sports archive

Post by Brian F »

I have always thought there was a bit of one hand not knowing what the other is doing in the junking. The sale department had one store (for film telerecordings and engineering for video tapes and I feel one often thought that the other was keeping something and got rid of their copy (sales for space and engineering to re-use the tape) only to find that they both had junked the same programme

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Re: BBC sports archive

Post by gmg »

ITV’s snooker coverage was all pre-recorded until the early-80’s when they began to compete with the BBC by televising live coverage. Their archive seems to contain a good chunk of what they broadcast but there are gaps, such as the World Doubles. In saying that, I don’t trust their list completely as some of the tournaments don’t fit the dates (e.g. the last staging of the Yamaha Organs Trophy was 1984 rather than 1987). The prices they charge are exorbitant as well so the only hope I hold of ever seeing this stuff is if they make it more easily accessible or if the governing body buys it off them and does the same.

Unfortunately I can’t imagine many sporting bodies cared about their tournament coverage being archived until recently and most probably still don’t care enough to attempt to restore it, especially when there’s limited commercial value to doing so. The nearest we’ll probably get is what we’ve already got in the likes of a couple of snooker and tennis collectors who’ve amassed an incredible amount of old off-air recordings and who make this available to fans.

I’m also wondering where else this footage may be available though. Didn’t the BFI say at one stage that they had recorded everything broadcast on terrestrial TV from the 80’s onwards? And where do Kaleidoscope source their old TV footage from? I came across the opening snippet of a match that I’d love to see again on their Youtube channel the other day and wondered if they might have more of it.

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Re: BBC sports archive

Post by Mark »

The BBC didn't cover Snooker all that much either, did they?

Apart from radio coverage in the 30's, and one or two competitions on TV in the 50's, hardly anything until the late 70's.

I'd be surprised if they hadn't kept coverage from the 78 championships onwards, I remember watching that one! ( and the famous 85 one, and that certainly exists).

Not sure about what survives of "Pot Black" , or "A Question Of Sport", for that matter, we might find out more this year, as it's the 50th anniversary.

There was some Snooker coverage on "Grandstand" as well, so there may be some footage surviving from that as well.
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Re: BBC sports archive

Post by gmg »

Yes, the BBC’s coverage of live snooker only properly kicked off in the late 70’s. Like yourself, I originally thought that virtually everything would be safely tucked away in the archives somewhere but this appears not to be the case. The best survivor from the 1970’s/80’s is probably Pot Black but that’s only because it’s the BBC’s own tournament so couldn’t be junked. In saying that, some of the earliest programmes from 1969 and the early-70’s did not survive their cull. As mentioned, a lot of Grandstand footage only contains the BBC links and a little bit of the sports footage that followed. The BBC are repeating a series called Crucible Classics over the next couple of weeks when the World Championship had been due to be played. These were originally shown in a late night slot back in 2016 but are now getting primetime coverage. Many snooker fans are unhappy that a new series has not been produced, pointing out to several gaps particularly from the early years (no matches at all are featured from the first five Crucible’s) but the more insight I’m getting into what has been maintained the more I’m realising that this is probably due to a lack of available footage.

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Re: BBC sports archive

Post by Mark »

Had a look at "Pot Black" in the KAL guide, earliest complete series is the 77 one, with a few scattered about from earlier series, thought there was more than that.

There is a 74 edition on YT and there are some programmes on iplayer.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/group/p03f5l3j

Thinking about it, they may have kept finals, but not all earlier rounds of championships, although it's possible players may have recorded material themselves.
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gmg
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Re: BBC sports archive

Post by gmg »

The collector I deal with has a couple of Pot Black episodes from 1973, his list is so extensive that there's bound to be stuff in there that is missing from the television archives. A lot of his stuff has been sourced from players own recordings of their matches but occasionally the source is the host broadcaster. I wonder has Kaleidoscope ever made contact with him. Speaking of which, didn't Kaleidoscope used to have a link ('lost shows' IIRC) that allowed the public to check what was present/ missing in the TV archives? An old link I had for it no longer appears to be working unfortunately.

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Re: BBC sports archive

Post by ian b »

Revamped into TV Brain, here...

https://www.tvbrain.info/

gmg
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Re: BBC sports archive

Post by gmg »

ian b wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 2:40 pm
Revamped into TV Brain, here...

https://www.tvbrain.info/
Thanks for the link. So is it now only subscribers to TV Brain who can check what is and isn't available in the TV archives? Seems a little bit at odds with the organisations purpose if that is the case.

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Re: BBC sports archive

Post by stearn »

No. Subscribers get access to their database (that backed up the creation of their extensive books). There is a box to search lost shows. This is what was available at lostshows.info before.

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Re: BBC sports archive

Post by Mark »

Those two 73 editions of "Pot Black" are in the archives ( one of which is the final).

On other sports, I imagine FA Cup finals have been kept, for the final two years of the 60's, all three channels screened it, BBC 1 and ITV in B/W and BBC 2 in colour, and both BBC and ITV have the 66 World Cup final of course, and with the Colour film made, it's well covered.

Not sure what the situation is with Olympics, I expect plenty of footage exists but probably not all presentation, although I'm sure I have seen some of Mexico 68.
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Re: BBC sports archive

Post by gmg »

stearn wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 10:04 pm
No. Subscribers get access to their database (that backed up the creation of their extensive books). There is a box to search lost shows. This is what was available at lostshows.info before.
Thanks, missed that somehow. I've already spotted a few things that the collector I know seems to have, which look to be missing from the archives as follows:

01/03/75 Pot Black - John Spencer v Graham Miles (17mins - incomplete)
0/01/79 Pro-Celebrity Snooker FINAL Spencer/O’Connor v Taylor/Maynard (38mins)
21/01/80: Question of Sport Alex Higgins/ David O’Leary/ Gillian Gilks (2mins - incomplete)
29/03/88: Question of Sport w/John Parrott (28mins)

Can't be sure if he has the latter as I asked him to include it for me a few years ago but he didn't and I forgot about it the next time I was in touch. I'm amazed that episodes of Question of Sport from as recently as 1996 appear to be missing from the archive. These surely are the BBC's responsibility so what is the explanation for that?

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Re: BBC sports archive

Post by Richardr1 »

Mark wrote:
Wed Apr 15, 2020 12:59 am
both BBC and ITV have the 66 World Cup final of course, and with the Colour film made, it's well covered.
Of course ??? Isn't the BBC coverage retained edited by 10-15 minutes, and not the whole game? The ITV archive is the whole game, but a telerecording, so in lower quality.

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Re: BBC sports archive

Post by Mark »

gmg wrote:
Wed Apr 15, 2020 11:44 am
stearn wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 10:04 pm
No. Subscribers get access to their database (that backed up the creation of their extensive books). There is a box to search lost shows. This is what was available at lostshows.info before.
Thanks, missed that somehow. I've already spotted a few things that the collector I know seems to have, which look to be missing from the archives as follows:

01/03/75 Pot Black - John Spencer v Graham Miles (17mins - incomplete)
0/01/79 Pro-Celebrity Snooker FINAL Spencer/O’Connor v Taylor/Maynard (38mins)
21/01/80: Question of Sport Alex Higgins/ David O’Leary/ Gillian Gilks (2mins - incomplete)
29/03/88: Question of Sport w/John Parrott (28mins)

Can't be sure if he has the latter as I asked him to include it for me a few years ago but he didn't and I forgot about it the next time I was in touch. I'm amazed that episodes of Question of Sport from as recently as 1996 appear to be missing from the archive. These surely are the BBC's responsibility so what is the explanation for that?
They may well be interested in those, as for more recent losses, could be that mistakes are made, various editions of Children's series were deliberately junked a number of years ago, such as "Rentaghost".
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Re: BBC sports archive

Post by Mark »

Richardr1 wrote:
Wed Apr 15, 2020 5:32 pm
Mark wrote:
Wed Apr 15, 2020 12:59 am
both BBC and ITV have the 66 World Cup final of course, and with the Colour film made, it's well covered.
Of course ??? Isn't the BBC coverage retained edited by 10-15 minutes, and not the whole game? The ITV archive is the whole game, but a telerecording, so in lower quality.
Isn't the DVD the full match?...If not, I'd be surprised if the Master is edited.
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Re: BBC sports archive

Post by brigham »

Mark wrote:
Wed Apr 15, 2020 12:59 am

...Not sure what the situation is with Olympics, I expect plenty of footage exists but probably not all presentation, although I'm sure I have seen some of Mexico 68.
The Berlin Olympics (Spiele der XI. Olympiade) of 1936 was the first to be televised, and I suspect that large quantities of material on 16mm intermediate film exist in the archives of "Fernsehsender Paul Nipkow", Berlin.
The official IOC film of the Berlin Games is readily available, but I am not aware of a source for the television coverage. Other, less interesting material turns up frequently on Internet sites such as YouTube.

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Re: BBC sports archive

Post by Richardr1 »

Mark wrote:
Thu Apr 16, 2020 2:39 am
Richardr1 wrote:
Wed Apr 15, 2020 5:32 pm
Mark wrote:
Wed Apr 15, 2020 12:59 am
both BBC and ITV have the 66 World Cup final of course, and with the Colour film made, it's well covered.
Of course ??? Isn't the BBC coverage retained edited by 10-15 minutes, and not the whole game? The ITV archive is the whole game, but a telerecording, so in lower quality.
Isn't the DVD the full match?...If not, I'd be surprised if the Master is edited.
No - the DVD states "Contains the most complete version of the match from the BBC archive" - it is the cut version, and that is all the BBC have.

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Re: BBC sports archive

Post by Mark »

I wonder when that was done then?, for such a piece of sporting history as that, you would have expected it to be complete.

I noticed that the radio commentary turned up a few years ago.
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Re: BBC sports archive

Post by Mark »

brigham wrote:
Thu Apr 16, 2020 7:31 am
Mark wrote:
Wed Apr 15, 2020 12:59 am

...Not sure what the situation is with Olympics, I expect plenty of footage exists but probably not all presentation, although I'm sure I have seen some of Mexico 68.
The Berlin Olympics (Spiele der XI. Olympiade) of 1936 was the first to be televised, and I suspect that large quantities of material on 16mm intermediate film exist in the archives of "Fernsehsender Paul Nipkow", Berlin.
The official IOC film of the Berlin Games is readily available, but I am not aware of a source for the television coverage. Other, less interesting material turns up frequently on Internet sites such as YouTube.
Interesting, I expect there is a lot of material surviving in many archives, it's probably well covered.

Would like to know what TV presentation and links survive though.
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Re: BBC sports archive

Post by ian b »

England's Elusive Moments: The 1966 Saga

http://thefootballattic.blogspot.com/20 ... -1966.html

A comment undrneath says The German version is only actually missing a matter of seconds from the whole game, presumably due to technical issues (rather than the BBC's hatchet job of 1976 in editing down the original footage then wiping it), which must have been for the FESTIVAL 40 repeat.

But elsewhere there are comments about the original tapes still being the BBC Library.

FWIW, my memory says the original BBC vt recording exists, but that there is a damaged section - and although the whole thing exists as a telerecording, this wasn't utilised for the DVD release, (which bears the caveat "Contains the most complete version of the match from the BBC Archive.

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Re: BBC sports archive

Post by brigham »

Mark wrote:
Fri Apr 17, 2020 2:58 am


...Would like to know what TV presentation and links survive though.
There are Station IDs and in-vision presenters (inc. 'talking heads') on YouTube, but I haven't managed to find any relating to the Olympics.

Search: 'Fernsehsender Paul Nipkow'.

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