Chris Dorley-Brown

Placement at BBC Creative Archive Licence Group

Reflections on the BBC experience

Posted by Judi Coe on 22nd February 2008

Excerpt from 'Reflections on the BBC experience'


My project involved using whole programmes rather than clips; whole programmes specific to a geographical location and a period of history – which happened to be the East End of London from 1958-1973 – and looking at all the material the BBC had made about the East End during that time.


I wanted to make this material available to the locals because it was about them. So the idea was to curate a selection of films and present that on DVD, or another accessible format.


The idea was to package it, to explain what it did on the label so that it didn’t look like art – but like historic material that was interesting and relevant to people in the locality. That is why it is called ‘The BBC in the East End 1958-1973’.


My DVD is documented by a 40-page colour booklet with information about my residency, and material from the BBC archive on the East End. I filmed and edited as I went along and did everything myself – I’m a one man crew so I do the shooting, editing and sound. I also did the book and the book design.


There were big licensing issues, of course.  These were resolved by stipulating that the finished material carried the following copyright notice:

All material copyright © 2007 BBC & © 2007 Chris Dorley-Brown




I had good support from the BBC Creative Archive department which helped me negotiate with the lawyers to allow me to use the film.


Like all my work, it was an experiment. I hope it acts as a kind of prototype for other people to develop later on. But that’s my job, and I feel very privileged to be able to do it.


The finished work – the book with an essay by Tony White and a 2x DVD set is available in The Idea Store, Whitechapel as a free to rent (you can keep the book)  DVD. They have proved very popular so far.