Old TV scripts, footage among 400 items donated to national archives

Old TV scripts, footage among 400 items donated to national archives

Scripts from the once popular television series Friday Background were among more than 400 items donated by members of the public to the National Archives of Singapore (NAS) on Saturday (Jul 14), as part of a donation drive calling for historical materials related to the city's past.

SINGAPORE: Scripts from the once popular television series Friday Background were among more than 400 items donated by members of the public to the National Archives of Singapore (NAS) on Saturday (Jul 14), as part of a donation drive calling for historical materials related to the city's past.

The scripts for the 1980s current affairs programme were donated by a former producer, who worked for the Singapore Broadcasting Corporation - the predecessor of Mediacorp - for almost a decade.

Other historical treasures also surfaced during the one-day drive, including never-seen-before footage of 1950s Singapore filmed by a young British soldier stationed in country from 1952 to 1956.

His great grand-nephew Nigel Sumner, who has lived in Singapore for the past seven years, came across it by chance when he visited the now 87-year-old in London. 

"It was a casual conversation.  I actually had no idea he’d been in Singapore. We were talking about my experience living in Singapore and he mentioned he’d shot some film while he was there," said Mr Sumner, 42. 

"For me it’s really interesting to see the locations I can still identify as part of Singapore , like Boat Quay and Beach Road, and to see how they’ve changed over time," the creative director said.

National Archives Singapore TV script
The contents page of a Radio Singapore script. (Photo: Wendy Wong)

"I’d really like to see something done with it - I was trying to think of something interesting I could do with it. I take a lot of photos on my phone and they stay there and nothing really happens to them. So I thought if (NAS) was able to do this for some good, hopefully there can be a way it can be utilised," he added. 

In conjunction with its 50th anniversary, the NAS hopes to receive historical materials preceding 1970, such as photographs of old landmarks and organisations that have since ceased operations, as well as copies of broadcasted events - in particular the first television broadcast on Feb 15,1963 and the 1969 National Day Rally Speech, which are believed to have been lost in a fire in the 1960s.

"We know Singapore has undergone major urban development since the late 1960s," said Ms Noor Fadilah Yusof, assistant director of records management at NAS. "The city landscape changed during this period. 

"We want to collect photos before the 1970s, mainly to help Singaporeans rediscover the sites and scenes that are gone or lost after the major urban development."

"These are the untold stories that we should be keeping or retaining for current or future generations," she said.

The donated items were assessed on the spot and will undergo a full assessment, with suitable materials to be added to the national collection for future research, publication and exhibition purposes. 

More than 10,000 items are donated by the public annually, according to the NAS.

Source: CNA/hs

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