ITV Wales, The National Library of Wales (NLW) and the Welsh Government today announced an historic partnership that will see the donation of the broadcaster’s extensive bilingual film and television archive to the Library’s National Screen and Sound Archive in Aberystwyth.
The transfer has been made possible thanks to £1.27 million funding from the Welsh Government.
The ITV archive in Wales is one of the biggest television archives in Europe and comprises around 250,000 items including cans of film, tapes and other formats.
It represents a unique cultural, social and political history of Wales over the past 60 years and contains some of the most iconic television images of the times.
They include the Aberfan disaster in 1966, the investiture of the Prince of Wales in 1969, the victorious British Lions tour to New Zealand in 1971, the 1984 miner’s strike and the opening of the National Assembly for Wales in 1999.
A host of stars including Richard Burton, Ivor Emmanuel, Sian Phillips,
Sir Geraint Evans and scores of presenters who were household names in their day are featured.
The collection of both English and Welsh language material which is of significant value to the Nation will be transferred to the National Library where it will be preserved and made freely available for public viewing.
Under the agreement, ITV Wales will also have full access to the archive for future broadcasts and will be free to commercially exploit the material at any time. Digital files created from the original materials will be made available to ITV Wales on request.
ITV Wales archivist Owain Meredith will work with the NLW to facilitate access and sourcing of the material and preparing content for the production of programmes (including news) and clip sales on behalf of ITV.
Phil Henfrey, Head of News & Programmes at ITV Wales, said: “It would be no exaggeration to describe the ITV Wales film and television archive as an absolute treasure trove of broadcasting.
“The agreement with the National Library of Wales will put this wonderful resource into public ownership for the benefit of the nation while at the same time allowing ITV to maximise the archive’s commercial and creative potential.”
The National Library of Wales Librarian, Andrew Green, said “The ITV archive is one the most significant additions to the Library’s collections in many years, encapsulating as it does the history of Wales during the second half of the twentieth century. As well as providing ITV with a service, the National Screen and Sound Archive will now be able to make it available for educational purposes and for use by the general public.”
Heritage Minister Huw Lewis said: “Many of these archives are a living testament to Welsh history and offer valuable insight into how Wales has developed over the past 50 years. Preserving the archive is paramount to protect our rich and diverse culture and to enable future generations to see how events large and small have helped shape who we are today.”
Landmark programmes, pioneering broadcasts
Hundreds of landmark programmes and pioneering broadcasts are contained in the archive. They include the first ever female news presenter, the first ever television movie magazine programme, ambitious documentaries and music programmes, star-studded dramas, ground-breaking children’s shows and revolutionary late-night programming.
The archive also contains a daily log of all the major news stories covered by ITV Wales and its predecessors since January 14, 1958 – the day TWW began broadcasting as the nation’s first commercial television service.
Since then ITV Wales has been through a series of transformations – from
TWW, WWN, HTV (originally called Harlech), followed by a period of ITV acquisitions from United News & Media, Granada, Carlton to the present ITV plc.
Here are some of the highlights spanning five decades of commercial television in Wales:
• In the News – pioneering current affairs programme.
• Mr and Mrs and Sion a Sian – launch of the relationships quiz show.
• Movie Magazine – first ever film roundup on UK television featuring such stars as Warren Beatty, Clint Eastwood and Deborah Kerr.
• Croeso Christine – Welsh for learners with Christine Godwin
• Divorce His, Divorce Hers – glossy mini-series starring Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor.
• Miri Mawr – pioneering Welsh language children’s programme.
• British Lions 1971 – rare colour footage of the victorious rugby tour.
• Arthur of the Britons – Dark Age epic with Oliver Tobias as the Celtic king
• A Dragon Has Two Tongues – a history of Wales with Wynford Vaughan Thomas and Professor Gwyn Alf Thomas
• Ballroom – drama about the 1984 miners strike starring Glyn Houston.
• Treasure Island – Brian Blessed in an adaptation of the children’s classic.
• Wales This Week and Y Byd Ar Bedwar – launch of the two long-running current affairs strands
• Barry Welsh is Coming – comedy with John Sparks as the hapless presenter
• Nightclub – all-night television begins in the UK with such cult classics as Prisoner Cell Block H and Married With Children.
• Telethon – UK television’s first-ever marathon charity phone-in.
• Your Century – countdown to the Millennium with Nicola Haywood-Thomas.
• Nuts & Bolts – gritty Valleys drama series.
• Never to be Forgotten – Welsh celebrities look back through the archives
• The Wales Show – chat, culture and music.
Huw Rossiter: 08 44 88 10375; firstname.lastname@example.org
The National Library of Wales
Press Office: 01970 632354 email@example.com
Anna Miller: 02920 89 84 90; Anna.Miller@wales.gsi.gov.uk