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The first 15 feature films broadcast on British television


One of the myths about pre-war television is that it no longer exists. Before the advent of videotape in the 1950s, everything was live and therefore ephemeral – so the story goes. In terms of material made for television that’s mostly (but not entirely) the case: the vast majority of the BBC’s own early output is gone with the wind. But a great deal of what was shown on television between 1936 and 1939 was neither live nor made by the BBC itself; nor is it lost. Around one quarter of the programmes broadcast were acquired films, and a small – very small – number of those were feature films. For the first time, this article identifies all of them and tells the stories behind their scheduling.

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Ronald Colman Season on Talking Pictures TV


bulldog-drummondTalking Pictures TV, which over the last year has developed into by far the most interesting independent film channel, has thus far relied mainly on British cinema for its programming. American films have been few and mostly undistinguished, to say the least. But from early November the channel is scheduling a number of titles from the Samuel Goldwyn library, beginning with The Real Glory (1939) and The Adventures of Marco Polo (1938), both starring Gary Cooper. More impressively, the selection will include a Ronald Colman season.

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