The Television Archive on BBC Four: From Preservation to Production
VIEW Journal Issue . 8 p. 80- 90
Reusing audiovisual archive material is a growing trend on television and has many purposes, ranging for commercial to more ‘purely’ social and cultural ones. Focusing on the uses of the television archive on BBC Four, the BBC’s ‘custodian of archive’ and digital channel for arts, culture and ideas, this article examines a selection of archive rich programmes shown on the channel, in order to explore the ways in which the television archive is becoming indispensible in programme making. Based on interviews with BBC Four programme makers, the article further posits that memory, nostalgia, aesthetic and moral judgement and, crucially, self-reflexivity are at play in archive-based programme making, and propose three distinct production approaches – interpretative, interventional and imaginative – all of which contribute differently to the television archive’s being seen as a ‘creative tool’.