Lost TV organisation Kaleidoscope launches “Reading Room” sessions for archivists

Kaleidoscope, the Birmingham-based organisation which specialises in locating previously missing, believed lost, television footage has announced a series of special, experimental Reading Room sessions, initially open once per month on Saturdays for the next six months, for private and personal research.

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If you’re familiar with the work of Kaleidoscope, then you’ll know that it’s an organisation that is over 30 years old, and still going strong. Run by volunteers, they’ve built up an archive of over a million items; many of them unique and not held elsewhere in the world. This includes paperwork from all the major UK TV companies and many private individuals, including Bob Monkhouse, Ken Hoare, Sid Colin, Reginald Collin, Derrick Sherwin, Katie Boyle, Keith Martin and Jill Hyem. ATV, Central and Rediffusion are particularly well represented. Also in the archive are sets of both Radio Times and TV Times, including many regional editions. Including the new addition of the huge Tony Currie collection.


Then there’s the archive, containing thousands of TV and radio programmes, many of them formerly lost, including Top of the Pops, New Faces, Crossroads and Hugh and I, which might be re-shown but largely sit there unseen. Companies like TVS and BSB that used to exist but now the paperwork is lost, so, sadly, they are unlikely to ever be repeated.

Because of these issues, Kaleidoscope has chosen the best items to become part of its Special Collection, which will be available for private research in their new Birmingham Reading Room. So, if you want to be able to sit down and watch formerly-lost Top of the Pops,  read a set of Scottish edition TV Times,  or perhaps the rarely seen Channel editions, or the schedules for Sky Television before 1992, read early drafts of Carry On scripts, or the formative work of Bob Hope, Johnny Speight and Denis Goodwin – well, now you can.

Launching in March 2020 you’ll be able to visit the Kaleidoscope Special Collections Reading Room. Initially open once per month on Saturdays for the next six months. This is for private and personal research, ideal for anyone who wants to watch archive items, write a book, work on an academic project or just come along and enjoy reading the materials. Under the same licensing arrangements as the BBC and BFI, written materials can be photographed as part of your booking fee.

Once you subscribe, you’ll be sent a Booking Form and list of what’s available, so you can order the items in advance. And they will be there ready for you when you arrive.

Kaleidoscope - From the Archives - A Box of Delights Podcast

Listen to A Box of Delights Podcast

• Forthcoming Kaleidoscope Reading Room Sessions at The Eaton Hotel, 279 Hagley Road, Birmingham, B16 9NB: Saturday 21st March 2020, 10.00am – 6.00pm; Saturday18th April 2020, 10.00am – 6.00pm; Saturday 16th May 2020, 10.00am – 6.00pm; Saturday 20th June 2020, 10.00am – 6.00pm; and Saturday 18th July 2020 | Read the announcement | View or Download PDF Catalogue | Buy Vouchers | Request Material | Subscribe to Kaleidoscope

The Eaton Hotel is a venue Kaleidoscope frequently uses for events and presentations and is ideal to reach from the M5 or M6 and only one bus route away from train stations. On offer are refreshments, free wi-fi and a large free car park make your day comfortable and easy to enjoy

For details of future free Kaleidoscope events at Birmingham City University, search Eventbrite for details. The next event on Saturday 7th March 2020 is a celebration of 30 years since the closure of British Satellite Broadcasting and other items; Saturday 6th June the 2020 Music Event

Find out more about the work of Kaleidoscope on TV Brain | Facebook | Twitter | Podcast on iTunes (direct link to latest episode, “A Box of Delights”, here) | YouTube

Subscribe to Kaleidoscope | Visit the web site to find out which shows are Missing Believed Wiped – here’s the current list for Doctor Who, Doomwatch and Timeslip, for example

Categories: Doctor Who, downthetubes News, Other Worlds, Television

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