Skip navigation



TVX was a British video workshop and research group that formed around some video equipment loaned by the Beatles and early versions of the 1/2" Sony portapak. It was founded in 1969 by John "Hoppy" Hopkins and Cliff Evans. Among numerous other members were Steve Herman and the Australian, John Kirk, who later became a founding member of Bush Video. They were associated with the Arts Lab which became the Institute for Research in Art and Technology (IRAT).1  

Early TVX video work included travelling to and recording regional Festivals and other events in Britain. They also began to record interviews with artists and other identities, got involved in the activism over housing in London and otherwise began to experiment with what video was about, particularly its role as ‘interface’ in what Hopkins called the 'social matrix'.2.

On the academic front, under the name Centre for Advanced TV Studies, Hopkins, Evans, Herman and Kirk were commissioned by the University of Southampton to write a training manual for the Home Office “Video in Community Development” which became a standard work in the field.3

TVX was a combination of community activism and hippie TV coupled with a great deal of serious research into communications and the means by which its access could be extended, particularly to the many minority groups in Britain at the time. One of its first projects was the re-construction of a police raid of the Arts Lab in London which was broadcast a few hours later on the BBC's Late Night Line-up (June 1970). Other major events included Videospace, an experimental, 'happening'-like, video event recorded in the BBC studios (c.June, 1970), though never broadcast, and an exhibition and workshop on 1/2” video at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Sweden (August 1970).

Though not organised by TVX, perhaps the event with the greatest impact was the disruption (November, 1970), of the David Frost show when American 'Yippie' activist Jerry Rubin was interviewed. Rubin invited a group of activists up onto the set and they proceeded to upset Frost, smoke joints and generally protest about war, environmental pollution and the capitalist hegemony.4 Two members of TVX, Cliff Evans and John Kirk, brought along a portapak to record it all.

In mid-1970 there was some discussion between Hoppy Hopkins and Albie Thoms about setting up a weekly video news service in association with Richard Neville's proposed alternative newspaper INK. With friends from the International Times and Oz magazine, Thoms had already produced a stencil-duplicated news sheet project called the Freek Press for the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival.5 But the video version didn't develop. However TVX, in the guise of John Kirk and Jim Pickford Perry, were one of the first video production units to record a rock festival and present the recorded image live. This was the 1970 Bath Festival6 and they displayed the video on large (B&W) Eidophor video projectors set at either side of the stage.

On Albie Thoms' return to Australia in 1971 he was asked to establish a Freek Press style news-sheet (which was known as the Rubbish news sheet) for The Odyssey rock festival, to be held at Wallacia, west of Sydney, over the January long weekend. At that festival a TVX type video news service was also established. Go to TVX-Wallacia for the story.

  • 1. Julia Knight (ed), Diverse Practices: A Critical Reader on British Video Art, Luton: John Libbey Media, Faculty of Humanities, University of Luton, for Arts Council Arts & Media, 1996.
  • 2. Interview (2004/11/04) with Sue Hall, John Hopkins by Dr. Jackie Hatfield for Rewind: Artists' Video in the 70s & 80s, pp.12-14. Available at,%20John%20Hopkins/SHJH506.pdf
  • 3. John Hopkins, Cliff Evans, Steve Hermann and John Kirk, Video in Community Development, London: Ovum Limited for the Centre for Advanced Television Studies, 1972.
  • 4.
  • 5. The Bath Festival, and
  • 6. The Isle of Wight Festival, and examples of Freek Press can be seen at