As a result, historical snippets of BBC memorabilia went walkies nearly four decades ago, with hundreds of iconic performances on Top Of The Pops said to have vanished.
However, the Beeb have unearthed footage of David Bowie singing on the cult music show which was thought to have been lost forever.
Iconic: Footage of David Bowieon Top Of The Pops, believe to have been lost 40 years ago, has resurfaced
The newly discovered material will now be screened for the first time in almost 40 years; with viewers once again seeing the British musician belt out number two hit The Jean Genie.
He originally released the track as a single in November 1972, with it being the lead single from album Aladdin Sane.
Stepping back in time: The footage of Bowie singing No2 hit The Jean Genie was feared to have been wiped
Legendary: Cover of Aladdin Sane 1973 album
Now fans can relive the magic when it is screened in a BBC2 TOTP2 special tomorrow night.
The film emerged earlier this month when it was shown at the Missing Believed Wiped event at the British Film Institute in London which celebrates the discovery of long-lost television shows.
Retired cameraman John Henshall worked on the show and kept a copy of Bowie's appearance, which has not been screened since it originally aired on January 4, 1973.
Henshall, from Oxfordshire, said: 'I just couldn't believe that I was the only one with it. I just thought you wouldn't be mad enough to wipe a tape like that.'
Hundreds of shows used to be wiped to allow video tape to be reused because of its high cost.
Mark Cooper, executive producer of Top Of The Pops 2, said: 'Bowie singing The Jean Genie is electric and the kind of piece of archive that not only brings back how brilliant Top Of The Pops could be, but also how a piece of archive can speak to us down the years.'
- TOTP2 will broadcast tomorrow at 7.30pm on BBC Two.
Now and then: David and wife Iman earlier this year at a charity gala in NYC