Archive TV brings together solid archive research, dramatic flashback, and gutsy documentary storytelling, putting the past in context and the people in the centre of the action.
The promo The Crime Wave involved months of painstaking research. The UK has amazing archive resources, from local archives to the National Archives at Kew, and numerous societies and organisations have their own specialist archives. So where did we start?
Sharon Holloway grew up on the Isle of Wight knowing something of the Valentine Gray story. A memorial to the young chimney sweep can be found in Church Litten at Newport, and spending time in the local area with new eyes was essential to bring the story to life. Valentine grew up in the Alverstoke Workhouse, so a visit to his home village and the church in which his parents married was also next on the list. The view from nearby Stokes Bay across The Solent to the Isle of Wight reinforced the sense of adventure and excitement the young lad must have felt, knowing he was going there to start a new life.
Back to London, to the National Archives, to view the inquest documents into his horrific killing, and the court documents that revealed how so many people had turned a blind eye to the boy’s suffering at the hands of his Newport master, Benjamin Davies, until it was too late. The journey began to tell its own story.
With a highly experienced crew and dedicated actors, Valentine’s story, like every other story in The Crime Wave, began to unfold into powerful and authentic drama.
Archive TV prides itself on starting at the grass roots - the documentary evidence, locations and communities, books and journals from the obscure to the mainstream, and, most importantly, a modern context in which to understand the significance of these extraordinary histories.