Bridgerton, Top Boy and Heartstopper join the BFI National Archive and the nation’s screen heritage

Twenty-six Netflix films and series enter the BFI’s national collection.

31 October 2022

Creative industries minister Julia Lopez, Netflix’s Benjamin King and Arike Oke, BFI director of knowledge and collections, visiting the BFI National Archive

The BFI has welcomed Netflix in becoming the first streamer in the world to have its series and films preserved in the BFI National Archive collection.

Twenty-six series and films reflecting the diverse communities of contemporary Britain including Bridgerton, Top Boy, The Dig and Heartstopper will be digitally preserved in the BFI National Archive for generations to come, as part of how we tell the story of who we are now through what we watch. This comes as Netflix celebrates its 10th anniversary in the UK and its annual UK $1bn production budget. 

On a visit to the BFI National Archive to see the BFI’s world-class restoration and preservation facilities and the archivists at work creative industries minister Julia Lopez said: “It was fantastic to visit the BFI National Archive and meet some of the specialists making sure British film and TV will be available for future generations to enjoy and study. It was also great to see how streaming firms such as Netflix are beginning to work with the BFI to protect content being made for digital channels. I hope other streaming platforms do the same in the future.”

“We’re really proud that some of our best known British productions like Top Boy, Heartstopper and Bridgerton will be added to the BFI National Archive,” said Anna Mallett, Netflix vice president, production – EMEA, UK and APAC. “This is a historic moment for us as Netflix becomes the first streamer to have its productions included in a national collection. Our mission has always been to bring joy to our members, and I’m delighted that our productions are representative of British culture and will live alongside iconic British productions dating from the silent era to the present day.”

“The BFI National Archive began collecting television in the 1950s and currently works in partnership with public service broadcasters to preserve programmes in its role as the National Television Archive,” said Arike Oke, BFI director of knowledge and collections. “We are so excited to bring a selection of Netflix’s fantastic UK productions into the national collection, they are a testament to Netflix’s investment in telling UK stories and bringing UK talent to a worldwide audience, capturing our contemporary times. This is a real milestone for the BFI National Archive and gives us a historical record for audiences in decades to come.”

Year one of the partnership, which brings together the worlds of film and television heritage with premium streaming production, represents 146 hours of programming, across 26 titles that showcase the breadth of UK culture in one of the world’s oldest and most respected national collections. The 26 titles comprise 175 single productions and episodic series.

Over the next five years hundreds of Netflix UK productions deemed to be culturally significant and  selected by BFI curators will be preserved in the BFI National Archive’s digital preservation infrastructure as part of the UK’s national collection of film, television and the moving image. The BFI National Archive always seeks to collect programmes and films representing British talent, stories and productions that express the full variety of contemporary UK film and television production. Curators will seek to acquire programme scripts, press and marketing materials to help tell the wider story of each title and conserve the legacy of the productions. 

The BFI is expanding its world-renowned team of curator and preservation specialists by recruiting a new assistant curator of television and digital media specialist in preservation to help deliver the Netflix project. With the boom in UK production and accelerated expansion in screen culture, supporting and developing skills in archive screen heritage is vital for audiences of the future as well as growth of the sector. 

A selection of titles being brought into the BFI

Film

The Dig
Enola Homes
Rebecca
Robin Robin

Series

After Life
Black Mirror
Bridgerton
Criminal: UK
The Crown
Don’t F**k with Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer
Flinch
Free Rein
Heartstopper
James Acaster: Repertoire
Lovesick
Mo Gilligan: Momentum
Night on Earth
Our Planet
Safe
Sex Education
Sunderland ’till I Die
The Surgeon’s Cut
Top Boy
Turn Up Charlie
Bridget Christie: Stand Up for Her
David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet

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