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Wiping or junking is an economic move by TV companies in which old videotapes and kinescopes are wiped (deleted) and reused or are destroyed.

Many old BBC television programmes and plays were wiped after it was felt that they had "exhausted their commercial potential" - this was before the VCR was common and issues with the musicians union and the actors union Equity made repeats impossible after a set number of times - the unions reportedly feared that constant repeats could put their members out of work - remembering that there were only three channels in Great Britain at the time. The BBC junkings took place mainly between 1972 and 1978, now the BBC is desperately trying to get copies of the lost films; hence, scholars argue that the move is often short-sighted as their value was not realised.

The BBC was not alone in this practice - many ITV companies also wiped videotapes and destroyed kinescopes, leaving gaps in their archive holdings.

See also:

Full Details of the BBC's treasure Hunt: [1] (http://www.bbc.co.uk/cult/treasurehunt/)

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