Swindon Advertiser on Viewpoint 40th Reunion

Here is a nice piece from the Swindon Adver on the August 2014 Reunion of Viewpoint's original staff and current board.

 We'll pull our own update together on this shortly.

Audio Archive Discovered

Viewpoint Audio ArchiveWe have recently discovered over 600 hours of audio material from the first 3 years of Swindon Viewpoint’s existence. This material, recorded on audio cassettes each day, was a requirement of the Home Office license. It provided an audio log of every programme leaving the Swindon Viewpoint studio. We seem to have an audio recording of every programme transmitted on Swindon Viewpoint from September 11th 1973, when the station first went live, to the 16 May 1976.

In the early days, Swindon Viewpoint transmitted on four days each week. Sunday had the Flagship programme, This is Swindon, which ran about 2 hours and usually included newsy items – some filmed by the public, (increasingly as time went by) and some made as co-productions with the public, like outside broadcasts of events and sports. Tuesday’s Forum programme was the slot for community issues, discussion and programmes made by the people of Swindon on the station’s equipment. On Wednesdays, there was a one hour programme aimed at women and families. On Friday night, The 7 Day Hour provided details of events coming up in the town over the next week. This included listings for the Cinema (there were two, the Odeon and the ABC), the Wyvern Theatre (who produced their own weekly slot), school and college concerts and plays, amateur dramatic productions, evening classes, lectures and talks.

The tapes will be a valuable insight into the first few years of Viewpoint’s presence in Swindon. One of the highlights discovered so far include the speeches at the opening ceremony of the station, by the then Minister for Posts and Communications, Sir John Eden and the Chairman of EMI, Sir John Reid, who outline the government’s philosophy and commercial interest in community television on cable. The tapes came to light after contact was re-established with the wife of Richard Dunn, the station’s Manager for the first 3 years, Jigga Dunn. Sadly Richard died some years ago, but he and Jigga had stored the cassettes for 36 years. We are very grateful to Jigga for her assistance.

Watch this space for more details of what we discover as we digitise this priceless archive for your research and interest.

20 hours digitised so far – 580 hours to go!

Rupert Kirkham

Season's Greetings from Swindon Viewpoint in 2011

Season's Greetings to all Swindon Viewpoint's registered users, Facebook friends and followers on Twitter!During 2011 Viewpoint steadily increased its catalogue and reach and saw a general growth of activity in many areas. We managed to broadly balance production of new material with digitisation of archive material, and early in the year we passed the benchmark of a thousand films made accessible, then onto the steady climb towards two thousand. This puts us right at the forefront of accessible film archives and similar ventures. Fortunately, with just a few glitches, the equipment we are using to digitise our archive of past recordings has remained mostly reliable. Perhaps the main news of the year is major progress on an area of our archive we have been unable to touch so far. The extensive number of black and white programmes made between 1973 and 1977; - primarily under the aegis of Richard Dunn, is the core of the archive, but has sadly been inaccessible (apart from a few programmes that had been transferred to Umatic tape in the distant past) due to the difficulty of finding a working reel-to-reel machine capable of playing the obsolete one- inch reel tape format. Now, thanks to voluntary help from Phil Reed, Jon Slade, Rupert Kirkham and Peter Callam a machine has been located and is currently in the hands of Viewpoint's engineer from the seventies (Phil Reed) for refurbishment. The machine is currently operative but unstable, but in Phil's skilled hands we are optimistic it can help us fully bring back to life the most important (no exaggeration) community television archive in Great Britain. Many thanks to the volunteers involved in this progress, and before we leave the topic we should now make an appeal to any of you who may know of stray Viewpoint tapes, either reel to reel or Umatic that may be out there in people's cupboards or attics. Please tell us of any you know of, so they can be included in the digitisation initiative, no questions asked. Similarly, we have facilities to professionally digitise and preserve (in conjunction with Swindon and Wilts History Centre) - and partners, any 16 and 8mm film showing the life and times of the west of England, so please let us know of any of which you are aware and we will arrange this and refer them on. For website visitors, please do take the time to explore beyond the front page, try some searches, or use the 'Tag Cloud' or the 'Timeline'. We aren't solely about local film and video either, the Then and Now area of the site, provided in co-operation with The Swindon Society, is a collection of historic photographs, complemented where possible with a contemporary angle, and is now very extensive indeed. Finally, if you would like to get involved in making TV programmes around and about your area, do get in touch. It's a lot easier than you may believe, - and very satisfying. There are all kinds of roles you can play and you don’t have to be a technical wizard, but for those of you who would like to learn to use a camera better, we can provide training workshops in video production. If you would like to take advantage of this, please register your interest via the contact form on the website. Do check on the website for new content after 6pm every Friday! Thank you for being one of our many thousands of regular users: - and do have a very enjoyable holiday and a Happy New Year. Martin Parry

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