British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access

Topical Budget

1911 - 1931
The Topical Budget was a silent newsreel first issued in September 1911. During the First World War, the British Government took control, which led to a confusing variety of names, including the War Office Official Topical Budget from May 1917, and the Pictorial News (Official) from February 1918. In May 1919, the reel reverted to the name Topical Budget, but it was now owned by the newspaper magnate Edward Hulton. From September 1922 to August 1923, he released it as the Daily Sketch Topical Budget. The reel never converted to sound, and ceased production in March 1931.

The routine operation of the Topical Budget seems to have been entrusted to the ‘news editor’. From September 1911 the ‘news editor’ of the Topical Budget was George Woods-Taylor, but by the start of 1918 he had been replaced by Patrick McCabe. By 1920 McCabe had in turn been replaced by Charlie Heath, who seems to have remained as ‘news editor’ until the closure of the newsreel in 1931. In 1917 William Holt-White became ‘head of the editorial department,' with overall responsibility for the running of the Topical Budget, but he seems to have left the company by 1926.
The data in this section was derived from the ‘Catalogue of the Topical Budget Newsreel (1911-1931),' compiled by Luke McKernan while at the BFI’s National Film and Television Archive. This unpublished catalogue includes all known issues of the Topical Budget, using information derived from a wide variety of sources, chiefly original issue books and subject index cards, held by the BFI.
Other Information
The right to the output of the Topical Film Company (producers of Topical Budget) are held by the BFI National Archive, except for the official period May 1917-February 1919, where they are held by the Imperial War Museum Film & Video Archive. The BFI National Archive holds a substantially complete collection from 1921 onwards, including unused footage, but only selected items before that date. The IWM holds around fifty percent of what was produced by the newsreel 1915-1918.

Films in this series can be obtained from:

Film Archive

British Film Institute (BFI)
For BFI National Archive enquiries: For commercial/footage reuse enquiries:
020 7255 1444
020 7580 7503
21 Stephen Street
London W1T 1LN
The BFI National Archive also preserves the original nitrate film copies of British Movietone News, British Paramount News, Empire News Bulletin, Gaumont British News, Gaumont Graphic, Gaumont Sound News and Universal News (the World War II years are covered by the Imperial War Museum).
Series held
View all series held by British Film Institute (BFI)

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