Million hours of BBC archive could come free with annual TV licence fee

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Up to a million hours of broadcasting history could be made available on the internet as part of a plan to open the BBC's archive to licence fee payers.

Lost gems of radio and television, some of which have never been repeated, include an interview with Martin Luther King filmed shortly before he was assassinated, and a 1956 episode of the nature series Zoo Quest in which a young David Attenborough captures the komodo dragon on film for the first time.

The episode has never been repeated but could soon be available online as part of the ambitious project, led by the BBC's director of future media and technology, Ashley Highfield.

The BBC wants to put the material on the internet for viewers to watch, listen to and download and it has begun the long process of retrieving and transferring programmes.

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