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South Bank Show Production Archive

South Bank Show Production Archive

The South Bank Show Production Archive (1978-2010) is a nationally valuable audio-visual collection. First aired in 1978, the South Bank Show is a longstanding, popular British arts television programme presented by Melvyn Bragg and broadcast by ITV for over 30 years before its cancellation in 2010 (and subsequent revival on Sky Arts in 2012). The collection offers insight into British arts programming over three decades, as the Show sought to celebrate and interrogate both high and popular art forms, and the classical and the new in culture, both home-grown and from across the globe.

Comprising approximately 9000 audio-visual items spanning 33 years, the SBSP archive includes material recorded for around 520 episodes and specials, including unseen rushes and unedited interviews. The collection reflects the rapid changes in broadcast media technologies with holdings including 16mm film and 2” reel to reel audio tapes, through to digibeta and more recent formats such as DVCAM.

Subjects covered include Alan Bennett, Carol Ann Duffy, Caryl Phillips, Courtney Pine, Ruth Rendell, Phillip Pullman, Sarah Waters, Shakespeare, Tolkien and Zaha Hadid.

Viewing the Collection

Over 660 films and videos have been digitised and are available to University of Leeds staff, students and visitors for educational purposes, meaning: research, study, or teaching. Equipment is not available to view the master physical recordings.  Digitisation can be facilitated through an external agency. Costs are calculated on a case by case basis.

University of Leeds staff and students are required to log in with their University of Leeds username and password to view footage. If you are not a member of the University of Leeds you may view the digitised film and video in the Special Collections Research Centre in the Brotherton library. Catalogue records for videos containing digital content can be identified by a blue bar stating ‘contains digital media’ and contain a link to the digitised content. To view only these records search results can be filtered by choosing 'including digital video' to view digitised content only.  Please contact us for all access and re-use enquiries.

Using the Collection

Standard resolution non-broadcast quality copies of material are also available to University of Leeds staff and students upon request and will be supplied under a CC-BY-NC license for educational purposes only.    Copyright remains with ITV Studios Ltd.

How the Collection is Arranged

Material is arranged by series number and title or subject of episode with each recording bearing a title relating to the episode and where appropriate, further information on it's content.

Titles do not always reveal much about the content of a recording - while some episodes focused on long-form interviews with Bragg, others were comprised of multiple interviews, performances, rehearsals, street footage and archive material. Documentaries came from Ken Russell (on classical music and musicians), Tony Palmer with Isolde films, and Naomi Wright, among others.

complete list of all South Bank show episodes highlighting those which the library does and does not hold material from is available attached to the collection level record.

Further information on the series in general can be found on the South Bank Show wikipedia page.