Today: May 29, 2024
BFI Player

Britain On Film Launches On BFI Player

Britain On Film Launches On BFI Player

The British Film Institute (BFI) has announced that it will launch an on-demand streaming service called BFI Player on October 9.

The BFI Player, revealed today, will focus on delivering independent and specialised films, and will launch with more than 1,000 films – about 60 percent of which will be free, while the remainder will be available on a pay-per-view basis.

The launch has been timed to coincide with the BFI London Film Festival and will include seven ‘collections’ (channels) from day one, which include a behind the scenes look at the Festival, Gothic and Cult cinema and even 28 hours of rare Edwardian film footage from film makers Mitchell and Kenyon (whose work is pictured on the right), among others.

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said: “Britain on Film is a fantastic initiative and I congratulate the BFI and the national and regional archives on the huge amount of work they have put into creating a truly remarkable project. I’m particularly delighted that Britain on Film will be reaching the British public in so many different ways this summer all over the UK, and encourage everyone to check it out online via the BFI Player.”

Through the project, Britain on Film curators have found extraordinary footage of ordinary people and places from across the collections. These include:

The Passmore Family Collection – the world’s earliest known surviving home movies (1902) feature 10 films of the family on holiday in Bognor Regis and The Isle of Wight and at home in Streatham, London. Michael Passmore, the filmmaker’s grandson, still has his grandfather’s original camera purchased in 1900 and now lives in Kent. Michael said “I am very proud of my grandfather’s films; they have such a lot of movement and are never boring. The films capture the joys of family occasions and holidays so beautifully. I am delighted that they will be able to be shared with the rest of the country and hope they will continue to give pleasure to anyone interested in the history of home movies.”

SCOTLAND – Old Norse Viking Festival (1927): wonderfully bizarre folkloric rituals with locals dressed as Michelin Men, walruses, sheep and Vikings

Glasgow Tram (1961):
a historic moment in time as the preparations and final procession of Glasgow’s last tram is captured in glorious colour by an amateur filmmaker

WALES – Tryweryn – The Story of a Valley (1965): a film made by local schoolchildren of the controversial flooding of Capel Celyn and Tryweryn Valley to make a new reservoir

Prawn Festival Kilkeel & Lord Mayor’s Show (1962): from the year it began, this film shows the huge crowds that came to the harbour every summer – now known as the Kingdom of Mourne Festival and still going strong

NORTHERN ENGLAND – Davy Crockett (1955): a police officer playing Davy Crockett rides through the city of Hull to get a road safety message across to children

The Bradford Godfather (1976): a heart-warming documentary about the founding father of Bradford’s Pakistani community

Scenes at Chester on the River Dee (1901): shot during the Chester Regatta of 1901 by the pioneering British company Mitchell and Kenyon

THE MIDLANDS – Evidence (1935): first film used in an English court of law to prosecute an illegal gambling ring in the town of Chesterfield, with an appearance by three circus elephants

SOUTHERN ENGLAND – Father Neptune Ceremony on Brighton Beach (1951): fun and frolics at Brighton Swimming Club, England’s oldest Swimming Club, still going strong today

Films revealing the development of British Sign Language (1935) from The Deaf Association shot in Weston-Super-Mare

EASTERN ENGLAND – George Bernard Shaw’s Village (1949): rare footage of the celebrated playwright at home in Ayot St Lawrence, Herts, including extraordinary scenes with American actor and singer Danny Kaye

LONDON – Do Something! (1970): a community-based adventure playground project exposes division in a diverse local community in Islington

Covent Garden Porters (1929): porters perform near-impossible balancing feats with stacks of baskets, with incredible filmmaking demonstrated

This newly accessible film and TV presents a Britain that is vibrant, diverse and eccentric, whilst shining a light on issues and situations that affect every generation. Many of these films have never – or rarely – been seen since their first appearance and can now be searched for by specific UK locations through BFI Player’s ground-breaking new Film and TV Map of the UK, which also enables people to share films with their family, friends and communities.

For more information, go to BFI website

Marcia Degia - Publisher

Marcia Degia, who has worked in the media industry for more than 20 years, is the Publishing Editor of KOL Social Magazine. See website:

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