Interview with Oliver Ashmole

Wiped speaks to Oliver Ashmole – the collector who has returned a previously missing episode of The Troubleshooters.

Wiped. Can you tell me a little about yourself and how you came to have this episode in your collection?

Oliver. I’m a collector of old television and films; most programmes I get now are on DVD. I started collecting cine film around 2001. It all started when I found that cine films were available on eBay. At first I collected 8mm films, then I found some old 16mm prints of ATV schools programme Stop, Look, Listen in film shop, Derann. This led to me looking for old TV programmes.

On November 15, 2003, I went to a film convention in Blackpool. At the end of the day, I was having a last look around at the stall as they was getting ready to pack up when a seller said to me would I be interested in buying this old TV programme.

I asked if it was British or American and he said it was the latter. I said that I preferred British programmes but he then offered it to me at a good price so I bought it. When I got home, I watched the film and thought “this looks British”, so I looked it up on the internet and found the website missing presumed wiped, and found that it was a missing programme from the BBC. I heard that the BBC would keep the films, so I held on to it until now.

W. What condition is the episode in. Is it a 16mm print?

O. I only looked at the print once in 2003 and from what I can remember it was a good 16mm print.

W. Are you a fan of The Troubleshooters? Is it a good episode?

O. I’m not a fan of the series as this was the first time I had seen an episode of it, but I enjoyed watching it.

W. How and why did you come to return the episode and how did you find the experience? There are stories about the BBC not being interested in recovering material or coming down heavy on collectors, but in light of the successful handover, what do you have to say to other collectors about the process?

O. It was through a friend of a friend. We got talking about old TV and I mentioned about the film. He then told me about Wipednews.com and that started the ball rolling.

I took the film direct to the BBC, was given a warm welcome and got to have a chat over a drink of orange juice.

From what I was told at the BBC, if the wrong person gets the message on the phone or if they don’t know the correct person to pass the information on to then this is how the missing programmes may not get returned to the archives.

If a collector does not get any response regarding a missing programme, just try to find another contact that may be able to help. Kaleidoscope helped me find the best contacts at the BBC, so this is a good way to get the missing films back into the archives.

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