Between 2013 and 2018, ADAPT – funded by the European Research Council (grant no. 323626) and based in the Department of Media Arts at Royal Holloway, University of London – researched the history of British broadcast television technology between 1960 and the near-present.
The project carried out a series of ground-breaking historical reenactment exercises. Retired television staff were reunited with obsolete television production technologies, and demonstrated the tools and techniques that defined their working lives.
With the cooperation of equipment restorers and television history enthusiasts, ADAPT filmed their efforts so that future generations might better understand the physical labour and technological innovation which enabled British television production from 1960 onwards.
This website is the gateway to our video collection. Here, you can view and download hundreds of videos which give a unique and fresh insight into historical television production. All of our videos, which are hosted on the repository platform Figshare, are released under a permissive Creative Commons licence. You are free to download, remix, and redistribute them as you wish.
The project team
John Ellis, professor of media arts at Royal Holloway, University of London, was ADAPT’s principal investigator. He devised and managed the project and recruited research collaborators.
Amanda Murphy was the project’s digital producer. With a wealth of experience from a career as a senior documentary television producer, she oversaw the planning, shooting, and editing of the reenactment experiments. Dominic Clarke, working alongside Amanda, edited the majority of the videos on this website.
Nick Hall was the project’s postdoctoral research officer. He supported the team’s research, co-organised the related Hands On History conference, and built this website.
James Bennett, professor of television and digital culture at Royal Holloway, University of London, led the project’s research into the use of social media in contemporary television production. He was assisted in this by postdoctoral research officer Niki Strange.
The project also funded and supported two doctoral students. Rowan Aust researched her PhD in the history of television film and video editing. Tim Heath researched his PhD in the changing roles of, and technologies used by, television sound engineers.
ADAPT benefited from further assistance of students and staff in the Department of Media Arts at Royal Holloway, University of London. We are particularly grateful to the department’s art and design technicians Helen Adams and Sarah Peacock, and to the many students who worked as camera operators, sound recordists, data wranglers and runners during the project’s reenactment filming days.