Back to 2012


Our British Council Film Collection is LIVE!

  • World Garden - from The British Council Film Collection

World Garden - from The British Council Film Collection

May 2012

The Collection is LIVE! We launched last week and in just a few days, over 95,000 of you have clicked to view one of the fabulous films in this extraordinary Collection

We're delighted to announce that the Collection is now LIVE!

During the 1940s, the British Council was an enthusiastic commissioner of documentary films designed to promote an idea of Britain and ‘Britishness’. Over 125 films were produced as 'cultural propaganda' to counteract anything the Nazis might throw out and to refute the idea that ours was a country stuck in the past. The films were seen by millions of viewers in far-flung locations until the late 60s when they largely fell out of sight. Thankfully in the interim between then and now, they have been carefully preserved by the BFI National Archive and over the last year, with generous support from Google and some brilliant detective work by creative film archive consultancy, Time/Image, have been carefully digitised in order to make the whole Collection available and accessible to a generation of new viewers.

We’ve just uploaded the first films right here and they're available not just to watch but to download too – and as we add more we’ll be actively encouraging you to play with them!

As we approach a long summer dominated by the Olympics, the Jubilee and the GREAT campaign, when the UK’s self-image is sharply in the world’s spotlight again, the Collection asks some fascinating questions about who we were then – and who we are now. Have a play, watch at your leisure, see if you or anyone you know is in the films - and do keep coming back because this is just the first batch of films! There are another 40 incredible titles still to upload and enjoy.