Archive Angel

25 February 2019

Meet Andy Gavaghan, gatekeeper of ITV’s extensive archive here at ITV Yorkshire. He tells us about preservation time-bombs, how the first floor of the Archive is haunted (but not by David Bowie who played here) and how it holds the Rank Film collection, including titles such as Great Expectations, Brief Encounter, 39 Steps and the Carry On’s.

What is your role in the ITV Archive?

My role is to manage the ITV Archive and the Archive Team. Everyday is different; we traffic tens of thousands of assets around the business each year for sales, broadcast or production, we continually add to or enrich the metadata describing the assets, we analyse our holdings and formulate preservation plans… the list goes on. It’s a lot of work but all very interesting.


What’s the best thing about your job?

Being in a creative environment with lots of clever people is really great, but for me to be part of both the history and future of ITV and in a very small way of British culture, means a lot. We have created a truly unique and very important collection here and it feels like a privilege to be working with it each day.


What is the most spectacular asset in the ITV Archive and which one would you save in a fire?

That’s an unfair question! There are so many that I can’t give an answer I’d be satisfied with, so I’ll have to say something obvious like the first episodes of Coronation Street and Emmerdale. and Countdown because I love Countdown.


What is the hardest challenge media archives are facing currently?

Preservation – unfortunately as all archivists are acutely aware, regardless of how well we manage and keep the collections, there is a preservation time-bomb ticking away, whether it be film degrading over time or obsolescence of legacy video tape. It’s so important we continually monitor our collections and continue to digitise at the best standards to ensure the longevity of our content. There is, of course, a lot involved in these processes so that definitely keeps me awake some nights.


Give us your top 3 most fascinating facts about the ITV Archive

  1. We have over one million assets across our physical and digital ‘vaults’
  2. We hold the Rank film collection
  3. The first floor of our building once played host to a David Bowie concert


What’s your dream for The Archives future?

That the ITV Archive is a place where we have high quality digital masters of all ITV’s content, the physical assets continue to be well preserved, all the metadata is complete and rich and perhaps most importantly that the content is seen and appreciated by millions of people – that’s the aim.
Is it true the ITV Archive Building is haunted?

Archive Angel