Specialist Video Tape Suppliers

Here are addresses of several video tape suppliers, which will be useful if you are looking for current or vintage films not released here. Some of the specialist dealers in the USA can provide PAL system copies, otherwise you will need a video recorder with NTSC playback. Because American copyright laws differ from ours, many old television programmes and cinema films are considered 'public domain' and are available at very modest prices. UK credit cards are accepted by all of these American dealers as far as we know.

  • CAMDEN MINIATURE STEAM SERVICES, Barrow Farm, Rode, Bath, BA3 6PS (01373-830151, fax 01373-830516). Comprehensive supplier of video tapes on engineering, Post Office Film Library, railway and other transport subjects. Free 50-page catalogue.
  • CONNOISSEUR VIDEO LTD., 10a Stephen Mews, London W1P 0AX (general enquiries 020-7957 8957, credit card orders 020-7957 8960). Worldwide range of quality films and documentaries for the cineaste, as well as films of an eclectic or unusual nature. on the Academy Video and other sister labels. Free catalogues and mailing list.
  • EAST ANGLIAN FILM ARCHIVE, University of East Anglia, Norwich, NR4 7TJ (01603-592664). Archive film compilations on video covering, farming, rural matters, transport, industrial archeology and local life.
  • EUROSOUND, 41 Swanmore Road, Boscombe East, Bournemouth, Hants., BH7 6PD. Audio and video recordings of military and war-related matters. List available.
  • EVANS SPECIALIST VIDEO, Pershore Retail Centre, Cherry Orchard, Pershore, Worcs., WR10 1EY (01905-456503). Extensive holdings of current and back-catalogue tapes.
  • FILM FESTIVAL VIDEO CLUB, Nacton, Ipswich, IP10 0JZ (01473-717088, fax 01473-274531). This mail order rental library of classic and foreign films is the only known resource of many titles no longer available through retail outlets.
  • Douglas FISHER, White House, Slough Road, Brantham, Manningtree, Essex, CO11 1NS (01206-392220). Official UK Government films of the 1940s and 50s on radar systems.
  • FOOTHILLS VIDEO, Box 547, Dept. MCW, Tujunga, CA 91042, USA (00 1 818 353 8591). Many classic cinema films, NTSC only.
  • INTERNATIONAL HISTORIC FILMS, Box 29035, Chicago, IL 60629, USA (00 1 312 927 9091, fax 00 1 312 927 9211, Credit Card Order Line 00 1 312 927 2900). Huge selection of films from all over the world including many war reports and general documentaries.
  • INTERNATIONAL VIDEO NETWORK LTD., 109 Power Road, London, W4 5PY (020-8742 2002). Distributes travel programmes (Video Visits, Video Expeditions, Fodor's Video Guides) also classical music tapes and Great Metros of the World series. Free mail order catalogue.
  • MARSHALL DISCOUNT VIDEO SERVICE (00 1 313 671 5483) USA mail order dealer for current tapes.
  • MOVIEMAIL, Box 220, Hereford, HR4 9ZQ (01432-262919, fax 01432-262913, World cinema films on VHS PAL system.
  • MOVIEMAIL, Box 100, Port Ellen, PA42 7EN (01496-302500, fax 01496-302426). Classic, cult and contemporary quality films in the world cinema genre. Emphasis on ‘alternative’ films, not the usual Hollywood blockbusters.
  • SHOKUS VIDEO, Box 3125, Chatsworth, CA 91313, USA (00 1 818 704 0400, fax 00 1 818 701 0560). Large selection of classic TV programmes.
  • SINISTER CINEMA, P.O. Box 4369, Medford, OR 97501-0168, USA. Large selection of cult and other cinema films. NTSC only, no PAL.
  • TOMAHAWK FILMS, East Wing, Clevedale, The Avenue, Twyford, Winchester, Hants., SO21 1NJ (01962-714989). Free 36-page illustrated catalogue packed with World War II aviation and battle tapes (audio and video).
  • TOWER RECORDS, Tower Records Mail Order, 693 Broadway at 4th, New York, NY 10012, USA (00 1 212 505 1500, fax 00 1 212 254 4644). Claims to be able to supply any current American video tape, record, CD or musicassette.
  • VIDEO PLUS DIRECT, Box 190, Peterborough, PE2 6UW (0800-258259). Mail order supplier of all BBC video and audio tapes.
  • VIDEO TREASURES, Inc., 2001 Glenn Parkway, Batavia, OH 45103, USA (00 1 513 732 2790, fax 00 1 513 732 2611). Old films on video tape.

Trade Test Films once shown on BBC2

One method is to buy copies on video from the film library that produced the film originally (Ride the Wild Horses is a BP film, for example, so in this case you would need to approach the BP film library). For a complete list of every trade test colour film and details of those available on video tape click here:

There are also plenty of copies of (most of) these films scudding around collectors' circles and if you put a small ad in the right places you will probably get a reply from someone prepared to trade a copy with you. Obviously these copies cannot be sold for cash and most sensible people swap them without any money changing hands (or just charge the minimum for providing blank tape, postage, wear and tear on their tape machines, etc.).

The Test Card Circle's magazine covers the subject of trade test films and carries small ads.

British Television Programmes and Films on Video

The Videolog database of all video tapes in print can be viewed on the Moviemail site at It's notable that around 20 per cent of all the titles in print in the UK are deleted each year, meaning that every month some 1,000 titles change status. Moviemail offers to obtain any British video tape in print; their phone number is 01432-262910, e-mail

Television Programmes and Films once issued on Video but now deleted

A company called The Film Vault Search Service claims to be the largest and most successful video search company in the Uk, specialising in finding rare and difficult-to-find video tapes. It claims a 92 per cent success rate from around 161,000 titles. Phone 01865-361000 or 361888 or fax 01865-361500. Website is at, e-mail . Postal enquiries to The Film Vault Search Service, Unit 7, The Boundary, Wheatley Road, Garsington, Oxford, OX44 9DY. [I have to say that my one and only personal encounter with the company did not bear out their claims; my requests obviously contributed to the 8 per cent failure rate!].

Boot sales and secondhand shops are another source. Part of the problem is that it is illegal to sell commercially tapes that don't carry a BBFC certification; older tapes never had this.

You might also try-

Television Programmes sold only in the USA

A number of British and European television programmes unavailable in the UK are on sale in the USA; titles include Sherlock Holmes, Colonel March of Scotland Yard as well as obscure episodes of Robin Hood, Sir Lancelot and The Avengers . These tapes are available in VHS format from a number of suppliers and although they will normally supply NTSC to match the television standard used there, most of them they can also supply our PAL system on request for a small supplement. In any case, many of the newer VHS machines can replay NTSC recordings on a PAL receiver.

All the companies listed here accept credit cards and orders by telephone or mail. You need to buy their catalogues first of course. Prices are generally comparable with or lower than UK prices, although you need to take the cost of airmail postage into account, also possible UK duty and VAT charges. Orders of a single tape are not normally surcharged, however.

  • Foothill Video, P.O. Box 547, Tujunga, CA 91043, USA (phone 00 1 818-353 8591, fax 00 1 818-353 7242. Lower prices than other firms, although some films bought from Foothill have been a bit fuzzy to say the least.
  • Shokus Video, P.O. Box 3125, Chatsworth, CA 91313-3125, USA (phone 00 1 818-704 0400, fax 00 1 818-701 0560. Quality tapes at fair prices. Web site with full catalogue at
  • Video Yesteryear, Box C-137, Sandy Hook, Conn. 06482, USA. Phone from UK 00 1 203-426 2574, fax 00 1 203-797 0819. Their tapes are of good quality and they also have a sister business called Radio Yesteryear with a large range of tapes and CDs of American radio programmes. Online catalogue at
  • LS Video, P.O. Box 415, Carmel, IN, 46032, USA. Many rare cinema films, some US TV programmes plus a very wobbly series of Colonel March of Scotland Yard TV shows. Online catalogue at
  • Filmfax Products, P.O. Box 1900, Evanston, IL 60204, USA. (phone 00 1 847-866 7155, fax 00 1 847-866 7554, e-mail Large selection of 1950s and 1960s US TV programmes and commericals (plus huge selection of cinema classics from the 1920s to the 1970s) listed in each issue of their Filmfax magazine. NTSC only.
  • Captain Bijou, P.O. Box 87, Toney, AL 35773-0087, USA (phone 00 1 205-837 0049, fax 00 1 205-837 8393, e-mail: Thousands of classic films, TV shows, Westerns, sci-fi/horror, silents and foreign films as well as posters and collectibles. Catalog: $4.00
  • Critics' Choice Video, P.O. Box 749, Itasca, IL 60143, USA (phone 00 1 800-367 7765, fax 00 1 708-775 3355, Complete source for hard-to-find, collectors, out-of-print and DVDs. Also offers mail order catalogue of mainstream titles, closeouts, gift items, sell-through, along the lines of Barnes & Noble. Provides search service.

    We also recommend the OnVideo: Resource Guide to Online and Mail Order Videos: Hard-to-Find, Out of Print and rare video tapes at

The old animated idents and the start-of-day films shown in some regions

As for ITV idents and music, there is no official archive collection. We understand some enthusiasts have compiled their own tapes, so the only hope is wants ads in the two magazines mentioned above.

Not many ITV companies made start-of-day films and the only one you can obtain officially is that shown by Westward Television, available on a compilation tape for around £25 from the TSW Film & TV Archive for the South West, Foot & Bowden Building, Derry’s Cross, Plymouth, PL1 2SP (01752-202650, fax 01752-205025).

The addresses of all Television (and other) companies in the UK which hold archive film & Video libraries

Call the British Universities Film & Video Council on 020-7393 1500 and ask about their Researcher’s Guide books. They also have similar books on all newsreel archives in the UK. The books are comprehensive and meticulously compiled; they are therefore not cheap. Also knowing that material exists does mean you can buy a viewing copy but for genuine researchers these books are a must. The BUFVC publications list (free of charge) lists all the valuable reference books they publish.


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