The History of the BCTV
Our association was originally called CINEMA VETERANS when it was formally inaugurated in 1924. This was a direct result of the death of William Friese-Green in May 1921.
See http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1961777/bio for a full and detailed biography.
A group of senior industry members, including Sir William Jury, Arthur Cunningham (who donated the President's Chain of Office) and Chairman William Blake, from the Empire Cinema, Bedford, came together with others and decided that founder members of the industry must never again be allowed to die under such impoverished circumstances. They agreed that any member of the industry who had been in the industry in or before 1903, could be called a 'Cinema Veteran'.
This original qualification for membership was pursued with great care to ensure this condition was met.
In 1924, the first reunion dinner took place in London at the Holborn Restaurant on 24 December 1924. 101 'Cinema Veterans' were present.
This original qualification has been changed twice in the last 8 decades and today, the qualification for membership is not less than 30 years working in our industry. In 1973, lady Veteran Members were admitted into the Association.
In 1978, the name was changed to 'Cinema and Television Veterans'. The inclusion of television members was partly to recognise that as a result of the decline in the fortunes of the cinema industry in the late '50s and early '60s, many members of the industry had no choice but to move into television, but also to recognise that in due course, the television industry would generate 'Veterans' in its own right - all of whom the Association considered should be welcomed as members.
In 2001, the Association's name was changed to 'British Cinema and Television Veterans'. The current membership has remained stable for many years.
Today, the welfare of our members is protected through our close association with the Film & Television Charity, formerly the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund.