The BBC have launched a new online database of the archives of the Radio Times. The project has the memorable title: The BBC Genome Project .
This site contains the BBC listings information which the BBC printed in Radio Times between 1923 and 2009. You can search the site for BBC programmes, people, dates and Radio Times editions. Interestingly you can also correct their information and add some notes about the item if you were involved.
It may be useful to find a long forgotten BBC programme, research a particular person or browse your own involvement with the BBC.
For this project, it’s an interesting way to check if there may be film of the University in the BBC archives.
For instance by using the advance search of the Radio Times for mentions of J.R.R. Tolkien we can see that he was on late night radio talking about Anglo-Saxon verse in 1938 here
and was also the subject of a rather wonderful documentary in 1968 – ‘Tolkien in Oxford‘:
Well worth a look! The BBC Genome Project . – http://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/
If you’ve been following our blog, you’ll already know that ‘Dreaming Spools’ is a media project run by Oxford Podcasts to unearth and exhibit film footage of the city through time.
We are now proud to announce the product of our summer’s work: ‘Oxford On Film: From Attic To Archive’, a series of podcasts for the Oxford University Podcasting channel (http://podcasts.ox.ac.uk/series/oxford-film-attic-archive), which is free for public viewing, and episodes of which will be uploaded regularly.
The project was borne out of the pre-existing University film archive, which had already catalogued a number of video clips and short films. However, the archive’s collection of historical films was limited, and the Educational Media Team wanted to expand these video records in order to rediscover moments in Oxford’s history that were caught on camera.
Beginning with a media campaign to track down old film footage, we worked with the Oxford Times, BBC Radio Oxford, Jack FM Oxfordshire, and Oxford Today, the University of Oxford Alumni magazine and website- all excellent sources to provoke public interest in our research. These lines of publicity unearthed a number of exciting finds: home videos filmed on 16mm colour cine film from the 1940s and 50s; the products of student-film making with the University Film Society and Experimental Film Group, dating back to the late 1940s and 50s; and even a selection of monochrome and colour 16mm cine film reels filmed by an American Flight Surgeon based at Mount Farm Airbase in Oxfordshire in the 1940s. The latter documents the United States Airforce Unit at the airfield and exploring the local area, capturing the town centre and its population as they adapted to the context of World War Two.
Check out the series of podcasts, and keep an eye out for new episodes as they are uploaded.
The Dreaming Spools project has collected a large assortment of film footage over the course of the summer, which has had to be catalogued in our archive. We thought that we would give you a look into the depths of our archive and digitisation programme – CatDV – which we are using to keep track of all the information that we’ve been able to gather about the videos.
Sometimes it’s difficult to track down the owner, or producer, of the footage, so we do still have gaps in our information. The following film, for example, has been sent to us by someone who spotted it online, but we don’t know who took the footage, or who now owns the film! We’d love to find out, given that if the film reels still exist we could digitise them to a much higher quality. The video also looks particularly exciting, because it seems to have been filmed at the same time as James R. Savage’s films of Mount Farm Airbase- around 1944. If you know anything about it, do get in touch: email@example.com.
“Oxfordians past and present are being summoned to the aid of a new film archive set up to unearth hidden treasures of Oxford’s history and excite curiosity about its singular, enduring relationship with the moving image. The University’s Educational Media Unit, adapting Balliol poet Matthew Arnold’s still resonant description of the city, has named its project Dreaming Spools…”
If you’ve been following our blog you will know that William Lorton – great-nephew of Major James R. Savage, and owner of his film footage from his time at Mount Farm Airbase in Oxfordshire – has been involved in providing footage and expertise for the project! Our joint enthusiasm has led to a re-digitising of some of his 16mm footage to a higher quality, which got started yesterday:
We will soon have the pleasure of interviewing Derrick Knight, filmmaker and secretary of Oxford University Film Society in the early 1950s. He worked with Guy L Coté, who became president of the Society, on many projects, and describes their meeting:
“During my first term at Oxford, having done my national service as an army education sergeant, I busily explored the whole gamut of clubs and societies whose guest speakers afforded a cheap way of seeing and hearing some of the great politicians, writers and thinkers of the time. I also discovered a greater opportunity to see good films than I’d ever known – and I learned that a certain Guy Coté, a French-Canadian, was secretary of the Oxford University Film Society (OUFS). I wrote him a cheeky letter laying out my experience of film society organization and programme planning and asked if I could be of help. I was invited to come round to his bedsit for a chat. When I got there I could hardly get into his room because it was festooned with strips of film hanging from a network of strings, but by careful ducking and diving it was just possible to reach a chair. Guy, it turned out, was not only the Film Society’s secretary but also the captain of the Oxford University ski team that he had led to inter-varsity ski championships in Sestrieres in the Italian Alps that year. Not only had he competed but had also helped with the shooting of an amateur film around the event.” (http://www.guylcote.com/derick-knight/)
This 1949 Film of ‘Sestrieres’ has been kindly provided by Guy’s daughter, Natalie Coté, to whom we are most grateful for her help in our research. We’ve uploaded a preview onto our Instagram channel, which you can find here.
Natalie has also published the documents surrounding the production of the film, which detail how a training film originally budgeted at £40 became the £700 wonder that was shown in Norway, Canada, and over French television:
We’ve just launched our Instagram profile, which will keep you updated with pictures and short clips of some of the footage we’ve found in our Dreaming Spools research: http://instagram.com/dreamingspools – follow us for previews!