IN 1975 three Bradford men came up with a novel idea for heating a bed...but was it all just hot air?

Footage of the ‘miracle hot air bed’ from current affairs TV show Nationwide is revealed in a series of quirky local films from BBC archives. Others include ‘the first computer-generated fish and chip fryer’ at a Pudsey chippie and Bradford’s Town Hall bells breaking with tradition to ring the Z Cars theme and other modern tunes in the 1960s.

The BBC, which celebrates its centenary next year, has opened up its video archives for Telegraph & Argus readers. The films are from the broadcaster’s extensive collection of diverse and unusual news footage, much of it shot in Yorkshire, spanning several decades.

In a report first broadcast in March 1975, Bob Wellings from Nationwide interviewed three inventors who’d come up with what he called “Bradford's answer to the electric blanket or rubber hottie”. Sitting alongside each other in the bed, in grey suits, the inventors described how the hot air bed worked. A stream of warm air was induced through a pipe into the mattress, at a carefully controlled temperature,via a contraption at the side of the bed.

When the reporter claimed it “goes against the Yorkshire image, seems a bit soft” inventor Don Brennan said it would suit people ill in bed, or older people with circulation problems. “All good ideas are simple ones,” he smiled.

In November 1987 Tomorrow’s World presenter Howard Stableford went to Pudsey to see how a local chippy was using technology to get the perfect fish and chips. Using the first ever computer-controlled fish fryer, the ideal temperature was programme in then, said Howard, “the silicon chips take over”.

In October 1962 Fyfe Robertson reported from Bradford's Town Hall, where the chimes sounded. "That's not just the end of two o'clock," he said. "Bradford is waiting now to hear the rest of it." He continued that traditional tunes chimed since "this fine peal of bells was hung in the clock tower in 1873" were being replaced by "modern or even pop, pealing out tunes like the theme from Dr Kildare and Z Cars or a hit from American musical South Pacific".

Clock superintendent Mr Watmough said of the new move: "There are plenty of young people in Bradford. We've got to cater for them too." A rather disapproving Fyfe asked: "How modern would you go? Would you play the latest twist tune?" He was assured that wouldn't happen, and that traditional tunes were also being chimed.

* Archive selections are released by the BBC weekly and some of them will be shown on the T&A website.