Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Jean Genie Genius

I just watched a piece of television pop history tonight! Shown for the first time in 39 years!

David Bowie singing Jean Genie live on Top of the Pops back in January 1973 (a good year!) I find it difficult to believe that the BBC erased tapes of TOTP and other series after they had been shown! Maybe it was done to save money and re-use the tapes like we did with audio tapes. Well done John Henshall, the cameraman who saved hundreds of copies of stuff wiped from tapes.

"A retired cameraman has been speaking of the moment he realised he owned footage of David Bowie on Top of the Pops which was thought to be lost.
John Henshall, 69, from Stanford-in-the-Vale, Oxfordshire, retained a copy of Bowie performing Jean Genie in 1973.
He said: "I just couldn't believe that I was the only one with it. I just thought you wouldn't be mad enough to wipe a tape like that."

Mr Henshall said he only kept it because he wanted it for his showreel.
In the footage he used Telefex Fisheye lenses which he had designed himself. He also ended up in the background of one of the shots.
After the recording he asked producers for a personal copy on 2in (5cm) broadcast videotape.'Rarer than rare'
Mr Henshall said: "I didn't realise that it had been wiped by the BBC.
"They'd been looking for it for years, hoping that somebody had maybe pointed an 8mm home movie camera at the screen, because there was no VHS in those days. "

It amazes me how much television history has been 'wiped' over the years. On Monday I watched the film 'Hugo' which is a wonderful story of a movie-maker who destroys his celluloid films and finds them again by someone who saw the value of this analogue history.

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