television-1931-april

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.