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

Basil Brush

Basil Brush

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

The British Film Institute is to use £13.5m of Lottery funding to preserve 100,000 programmes - including which were said to be “at risk” , according to Heather Stewart, the BFI's creative director.

Tiswas

Tiswas

The shows in line for digitising include Tiswas - the anarchic Saturday morning kids’ TV programme which featured of Chris Tarrant, Lenny Henry, Frank Carson, Sally James and Spit The Dog.

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

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 the BFI's creative director, Heather 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."