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ITN Source unearths long forgotten footage for ITV documentary Jim Carter: Lonnie Donegan and Me

A new one off documentary for ITV about skiffle legend Lonnie Donegan features footage that hadn’t seen the light of day for five decades, unearthed by footage licensing business ITN Source.

The hour-long programme by Artisan Pictures in association with Spring Films is titled Jim Carter: Lonnie Donegan and Me and is presented by the former Downton Abbey actor who traces the profound impact of his childhood hero upon pop culture.

Featuring interviews from the likes of Sir Paul McCartney and Roger Daltrey it also contains archive film that had not been broadcast since the 60s.

ITN Source provided key footage of Donegan, who is credited for laying the preparation for the swinging sixties music, performing some of his biggest hits.

Artisan Pictures producer Svetlana Palmer said: “Just as Lonnie Donegan, once one of the most famous musicians in Britain had been forgotten since his heyday, so have the 35 mm reels of his prime time 1960s ITV show ‘Puttin on the Donegan’ lay gathering dust in the archives. With much speculation on the web between Lonnie’s hardcore fans who continue to swap old VHS tapes and dispute which of the long lost shows contained the best renditions of their favourite tunes we were intrigued and tantalised by lists of shows which appeared long gone. With the help of the dedicated ITN Source team we were able to look through everything that survived in the archives and pick real treats for Lonnie’s fans old and new, from some of the best versions of Lonnie’s signature tunes such as ‘Rock Island Line’ and ‘My Old Man is a Dustman’ to his humorous banter with a very young Des O’Connor and his mentor, legendary jazz musician Chris Barber.”

Simon Wood, Head of UK Sales, ITN Source said: “The 35mm reels of “Puttin’ on the Donegan” were in our archive essentially gathering dust when Artisan Pictures in association with Spring Films approached us about the project – with little knowledge of what was actually on these films, we took the plunge and dubbed them all, to see what gems lay within. We weren’t disappointed. No-one had considered this material for years, so it’s wonderful to see an influential and important artist like Donegan being given new life by this project, and by the material ITN Source holds.”

The documentary will air amidst 60th anniversary celebrations of Lonnie’s breakthrough hit Rock Island Line, the first of 16 Top 10s and the record that started it all.

Jim Carter: Lonnie Donegan and Me will air on ITV1 on April 17th at 10.35pm.