An archive of 40-year-old TV dramas featuring British stars including SIR Sean Connery, DAME Maggie Smith and SIR Michael Gambon at the start of their career has been rediscovered in America's Library of Congress.
Researchers were delighted after unearthing hundreds of hours of lost British dramas from 1957 and 1970 in the archive in Washington, D.C.
The footage includes performances from several of Britain's biggest acting stars, including Connery in a production of Jean Anouilh's Colombe from 1960 and a 1967 production of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing starring Smith.
Jane Asher can be seen in a 1962 school production of Romeo and Juliet, while Gambon has a bit part in a 1967 staging of the same tragic love story.
Officials at the Library of Congress have agreed to loan the broadcasts to the British Film Institute (BFI) to showcase the highlights in November (10).
A spokesperson for the BFI says, "Negotiations to secure the release of these dramas have been going on for some time and we have been holding on to the information until the time is right. It is very exciting, but we don't have all the information yet."