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BBC South at Six archive news bulletin discovered

South at 6 with Martin Muncaster from 1962

The earliest known recording of a regional TV news bulletin for the south of England has been re-discovered.

The reel of 16mm film was found "by chance" by the team producing features to mark BBC South's 50th anniversary.

Researcher Simon Marks said: "At the end of a dusty shelf we found a film can labelled Southampton Telerecording. We didn't know we had it."

It shows most of an edition of South at Six, the pre-cursor to South Today, broadcast on 9 October 1962.

Regional news

Film reel
The reel of film has not been viewed in over 40 years

The eight minutes, 25 seconds of footage shows about two thirds of a programme, featuring presenter Martin Muncaster introducing the main news items of the day.

It includes an interview recorded at Southampton docks and some rudimentary graphics during the opening and closing titles.

Perhaps the most significant part is a film made by legendary broadcaster, John Arlott.

It was one of a series called the "ABC films", in which he visited places with names starting with successive letters of the alphabet.

At the time programmes were broadcast from studios in South Western House in Southampton.

Rare Telerecording

While many individual film reports are held in the BBC South archives, in the 1960s live programmes could only be recorded using expensive telerecording equipment.

Telerecordings were made by filming the picture on a television screen.

It had been previously thought the earliest recording of a live BBC South news programme came from the 1980s when video tape came into widespread use.

The 1962 programme gives an insight into how regional news broadcasting has changed over nearly half a century.

Current BBC South Today editor Lee Desty said: "It's great to have re-discovered this part of the BBC's local broadcasting history just ahead of our 50th anniversary in January. It shows local TV news programmes were pretty basic back then.

"Martin Muncaster was our very first presenter for South at Six and this edition includes a wonderful John Arlott film about the village of Avington near Arlesford in Hampshire, which demonstrates this great broadcaster's wonderful use of language."

Audio slideshow: BBC Radio Solent
14 Dec 10 |  History



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