Time for a brief update on the Hungarian-refugees-read-Eagle story I mentioned the other day. I’ve been in and out and rather busy the past week (including going to the rather spiffing Endorse It In Dorset festival with the wonderful ladyfriend at the weekend), so I have been a little remiss in following all this up.
On the downside, after wading through the much vaunted BBC Archive system, I drew no clues – the BFI’s Screenonline website surrendered far more information and proved much more user-friendly – so I used a standard ‘contact the BBC’ form to try and glean some information about the film footage used in the programme. Unfortunately all this yielded was a breezily polite yet thoroughly empty declination:
Thanks for your e-mail regarding ‘The Rock N’ Roll Years’.
I understand that you’re interested in a particular piece of film from the 1957 series.
As the BBC is committed to ensuring that we derive the best possible value for all Licence Fee payers, we can no longer justify researching some of the unique, individual enquiries we were previously able to handle. We regret that your request falls into this category and are sorry that we are unable to supply the information you requested on this occasion. We hope that you will understand the reasons why.
Thanks again for taking the time to contact us.
Whilst I have no personal grievance with Sarah from BBC Information, this did somewhat tickle my complaining bone, so I am currently considering various approaches in order to prolong this avenue of investigation, drawing heavily from the school of persistent irritation. This will likely entail requests for details on the criteria employed to discern whether an enquiry should be assisted; a contextual hint that this might relate to a copyright issue; the suggestion that this refusal will lead to a range of official complaint procedures which themselves would take up more resources than simply looking at a file card or microfiche to find out where film for this episode came from; and an insistence that the factual error in the response means that I wish to resubmit the query. Frankly I’m embarrassed at myself, but the ends justify the means.
On a far more positive note, I’ve noticed that a Hungarian comics blog, Panel, has now covered the story. My Magyar is a little rusty, but through the power of InterTran I believe it’s a straightforward pick-up of the original.
I suspect help in resolving this little mystery will ultimately come from either comics fans or from those tapped into Hungarian folk memory – emigrés from that time, their relatives or even historians – so I am especially grateful for this mention.