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TV Shows on 'Film'

It’s hard to imagine now, in our world of ‘on demand’ visual entertainment, that there was a time not so long ago, when the only way to watch a TV show, was in unison with millions of others via the airwaves. To enthusiasts of film and television, the commercial availability of the domestic video cassette recorder in the late 1970s to early ‘80s, was therefore a dream-come-true.

However, prior to this, there was in fact one other way in which enthusiasts could watch their favourite films and television programmes at will. This was (and still is) to watch them on film - or as some might call it 'celluloid' (technically a word that refers to a material superceded by 'safety' film due to its combustible properties, but has become used in its broader sense to describe all film types).

Apart from the selection of TV shows on 16mm that were made available for distribution to the domestic market, collectors would also seek out original broadcast prints from TV companies and their distributors, especially in order to acquire rarer material.

An interesting aspect of this market from the point-of-view of the memorabilia collector is the selection of films and TV shows that were also made available on the 8mm medium, due to the fact that they were issued in boxes or cases with artwork covers much in the same way as the videos - and now DVDs - that succeeded them.

Some of the films issued - with both cases and film in good condition - are now surprisingly rare. Another dimension to their scarcity being that some were also issued with soundtracks - and consequently cover artwork - in foreign language versions.

Collected together on the following pages is a selection of these films, focusing on some of the rarer examples - some of which I have only ever come across once in my years of interest, that being on the occasion of their acquisition.

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