The Legacy of Don Kershaw

Don KershawTo many of us in VT, he was simply DLK. Videotape machines were still in embryonic form when, in 1955, Don joined a recording department in the old Lime Grove studios that only used film. In 1958 when that first Ampex videotape machine arrived, he was amongst a small group asked if they would like to work with it.
He decided there and then that there was a lifetime of challenging work to be had with these machines. It is doubtful he realised how much but in that lifetime he developed a unique expertise and a very wide respect that achieved so much, helping to turn various grey boxes into superb production tools, for us and for the world. In his own inimitable way he recorded and filed everything that happened in the embyro department - the Machine Records in our Hardware, Timeline section, are a tribute to his meticulous work.
He always planned to use all this information to write the official history of Telerecording Department, but, sadly, his eyesight began failing him before he could achieve it. A rough draft of the ‘work in progress’ is available in Thoughts, Don Kershaw.
Following his death in May 2008, these records were passed on to Neil Pittaway, and he and I have spent many days sorting through a wealth of nostalgic history. This section is designed to provide a place for all this information where it can be read and, hopefully, preserved for the future. There are memos, reports and records that catalogue the development of videotape in the BBC from 1958 until the move to Stage V in the 1990s. (The menu below will change over the coming months as new items are added)


  Between July 28th and August 16th 1958 a VR1000, sn188, was tested by Designs Department. This is the report - of note is the comment on editing in section 2.6.
  In early 1963 Designs Department tested the RCA TR22 videotape machine. This is their report
  There were quite a few memos from which the true history of videotape development, its trials, tribulations, successes and failures can be discovered
  In Don's collection of tapes was this piece from ORF about Tape Handling, featuring DLK himself. It is 10' 24" long.