Wednesday, 16 March 2016

At Last the 1948 Show

The surviving files that make up the Rediffusion library are available to view at the Reuben Library located at the BFI Southbank. Electronic copying of any sort is not allowed, only the use of a notepad and pencil for note taking. For that reason, file numbers only have been quoted in this article. The documents are free to view and no accreditation is required. A complete set of camera scripts for the classic series of Doctor Who is available as are some minor props from the series. I had noticed them before but mistook them for a film library, until Michael Pummell pointed out my error - thanks, Mike

At Last the 1948 Show: Australia bought both series and paid £700 for each episode of the first series and £850 for each episode of the second series. Both series were also sold to Hong Kong via the Rediffusion station there. There were also further sales via GTS (Global Television Services) Ltd to Dublin, Norway, Sweden and New Zealand. All 13 eps of At Last 1948 aired in NZ as one run, regionally from December 1968 to August 1969. The films were all returned to Global in July 1971. 

I am sure there must have been others but there was nothing to indicate further sales, anywhere. Oddly, the Dublin sale appears to have been to a radio station? Although, AIR (All India Radio) owned India’s National Broadcaster and the Out of the Unknown episode Level Seven was found at Radio Bremen, so that may not be unusual.

"Happily, a 16mm film print of the play was discovered in the archives of German television broadcaster Radio Brennen and returned to the BBC in early 2006.":

GTS Ltd was a subsidiary of Rediffusion responsible for foreign sales. Here is a Rediffusion internal memo from TL Donald of GTS to Johnny Johnson of Rediffusion, 4th of July 1975:

“As you know it was agreed some time ago to junk all the drama/comedy material which would have little non-theatric value and kept the educational stuff till last.
The 48 show was junked some time ago, but when the demand for episodes came up, we were able to rescue two from the rubbish. Since then a third has come to light, and this was sent up today. “

This provides a little insight into their values and more can be found from Johhny Johnson here:

Where Chris Perry also mentions, “I have read 90% of the special collections. It’s mainly contracts for artistes so they get paid, mingled with scripts, stills and limited overseas sales stuff.” So like the BBC, the sales paperwork is incomplete at best. Another Johnny Johnson related quote from Chris Perry on the same thread: “John Johnson always hinted that 'shedloads of film' was taken away privately rather than be junked but I don't know how true that was.”

I saw a bit of other stuff and will be going back for further visits to view files for DNAYSHMS Paradise, Murder Bag and No Hiding Place as well as others.


Jon Preddle at

BFI Special Collections files: ITM-8898 and ITM-8899