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Look at Life (film series)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Look at Life
Narrated byTim Turner and others
Release date
Running time
8 minutes-or-more on average
CountryUnited Kingdom

Look at Life was a regular British series of short documentary films of which over 500 were produced between 1959 and 1969 by the Special Features Division of the Rank Organisation for screening in their Odeon and Gaumont cinemas. The films always preceded the main feature film that was being shown in the cinema that week. It replaced the circuit's newsreel, Universal News, which had become increasingly irrelevant in the face of more immediate news media, particularly on television with the launch of ITN on the Independent Television service, which began broadcasting in parts of the United Kingdom in 1955.[1]


Produced on 35mm film and in Eastmancolor, these ten-minute 'featurettes' melded a light-hearted magazine format with a more in depth documentary approach and depicted aspects of life, mainly in Britain, but sometimes further afield. The films often depicted elements of the 'push button' or 'jet age', demonstrating advances in technology and a reflection on the changing tastes, fashions and trends representative of the so-called 'swinging sixties' era, which were often portrayed in a glossy, vibrant and optimistic way. The films also reported on topical issues that were affecting modern day society such as road safety, civil defence and pollution, and often sought to explain the rapid changes that were taking place in the country in an entertaining and informative narrative. Look at Life also took its cameras abroad to focus on events and affairs within the Commonwealth and British colonies including Aden, Gibraltar and the ever diminishing British controlled areas of Africa. Look at Life cameras were also offered exclusive access behind the Iron Curtain to present life in the Eastern Bloc, particularly in East Berlin and the Soviet Union.

The films were generally narrated in the style typical of newsreel films with a principal voice-over while letting the images tell the story. The narration was generally spoken over the natural sounds of the subject being discussed such as motor traffic or the activities within a workplace and with musical accompaniment. People who were featured in the programmes were seldom heard to speak unless as background sound, their activities and interactions with others generally being commented upon by the narrator. Otherwise the subject of the film or clip would sometimes address the camera directly or perform in a given situation, both in a staged and a scripted manner whereby the narrator could often add a humorous or ironic comment in the context of the subject.

On occasions an expert or professional in the field of the subject such as inventor of the Hovercraft Christopher Cockerell could be watched presenting the film directly to camera and providing the voiceovers. In the most part narration of the films was provided by well known celebrities and presenters of the time including Raymond Baxter, Eamonn Andrews, Wynford Vaughan-Thomas, Michael Ingrams, Antony  Bilbow, Sid James and Martin Jarvis in later editions. However the majority of the films were narrated by actor Tim Turner.

In the early years at the end of each film the caption "Take a Look at Life Again Soon" would appear on screen.


When the first issue of Look at Life, "Marrakesh" was released in March 1959, it was hailed in the trade journals as an "exciting venture in film journalism" and Rank announced this innovation would have "a more lasting impact than the present ephemeral newsreel content". Look at Life was a popular formula but did become rather frozen in time with its light-hearted presentation and jaunty theme tune and despite subtle changes to the opening titles, their graphics and the introduction of the Rank 'gong' logo at the beginning of later films. Television led audiences into a documentary world that had more grit and less glamour than the relative escapism of the cinema and by 1969 Rank could no longer ensure the survival of the series and the concept waned just as other newsreels and magazine films also available at that time, such as the Pathé Pictorial which was shown on the rival ABC cinema circuit, and as cinema audience continued to decline rapidly on the verge of the 1970s.[2]

Public Releases

Over 500 episodes were produced altogether. Digitally restored from the original film elements, the Look at Life series is now licensed by ITV Studios Global Entertainment, previously known on screen as Granada Ventures and distributed by the Network imprint. Many of the films have not been seen in full since their original screenings in the cinemas, although a number of films have been previously released on Super 8 and on DVD in themed categories. These include Look at Life – Swingin' London, which explores elements of contemporary London life, work and traditions and Look at Life – On the Railways, which represented the great changes that were taking place to Britain's railways in the wake of the modernisation programme and the decline of steam. However Network has gradually released box-sets of the films in volumes.

Volume 1: "Transport" is a four disc compilation released in 2010 and contains 54 films on the theme of transport. Look at Life Volume 2: "Military" was released in June 2011, whilst Volume 3: "Science" was released in September 2011.

Two further volumes, Volume 4: "Sport" and Volume 5: "Cultural Heritage", were for release in August and November 2012 respectively. Volume 6: "World Affairs" was released on 1 February 2013. On 10 August 2015, a seventh volume Volume 7: "Business and Industry" was released.

The final 7 disc Volume 8: People and Places presenting a remaining 100 films was released in the spring of 2021.

In November 2012, the series Britain on Film commissioned by BBC Scotland for broadcast on BBC Four began a twenty-part series providing an insight into life in Britain in the 1960s exclusively featuring footage from the Look at Life series. Distributed by ITN Source, a partly owned subsidiary of ITV Plc, each episode features a different aspect of British life and culture during the decade, including the changing role of women and how leisure time was spent including the rising popularity of overseas travel. It is presented with original commentary from the series with captions to provide the contemporary viewer with explanation.[3]

Available on DVD

Volume 1: Transport

Disc 1 (1959–1960)

Date of Feature Title Narrator Synopsis
April 1959 Ticket to Tokyo E.V.H. Emmett Travelling with a Britannia Airline from London via Bombay to Tokyo to discover Japan and back via Hong Kong along with the Ocean Liner Arundel Castle.
May 1959 Letting off Steam Tim Turner Celebrating British Railways' change of technology with the phasing-out of coal-powered steam and their replacement with oil-powered and electrified trains and signalling to bring in the modern age of travel.
May 1959 New Roads for Old Tim Turner The traffic crisis and a look at tomorrow's roads in the making including the London to Yorkshire motorway, Preston By-pass, Runcorn Bridge and works around London, including the gyratory system at Marble Arch, underpass at Hyde Park Corner, road widening at Elephant and Castle and the new Chiswick Flyover.
August 1959 Flight on a Cushion Peter Lamb, Christopher Cockerell, Tim Turner The Chief Test Pilot of East Cowes-based Saunders Roe tells the story of a hovercraft from the moment it was invented, with the inventor Christopher Cockerell and the recording of the first cross Channel crossing on 25 July 1959.
August 1959 Talking of Coaches Tim Turner Life from the back of a coach with a tour of Blackpool and Italy with young Eric.
October 1959 Alpine Rescue Tim Turner A glimpse of the hazards faced by Swiss glacier pilots.
October 1959 Shopping for a 'Queen' Tim Turner Just what it takes to replenish the Queen Elizabeth, the 83,000-ton liner before her next voyage. Food shopping and catering on a mammoth scale!
November 1959 Sailing the Sky Tim Turner The grace and freedom of gliding and an interview with Britain's leading woman glider pilot, Ann Welch. Don't forget your sandwiches!
December 1959 Driving Test Tim Turner Driving school tuition, including the innovative mock-up car with moving lights, cars for disabled people, the junior driver course at Grammar schools and the training of police drivers and London Bus drivers. Watch out for green Ford Cortinas!
January 1960 Shape of a Ship Tim Turner Taking a look at the big new liners being built including the Canberra and how their shape is changing plus a review of the slump affecting cargo shipping and the exciting future of air freight.
February 1960 Air Hostess Tim Turner Following the perceived glamorous life of 24-year-old airline hostess Pat Rossiter on her working day on an 11-hour flight to Rome and Benghazi
March 1960 Taxi! Taxi!! Tim Turner Looking at the organisation behind London's taxis, their maintenance, regulation of meters, training for "The Knowledge" to picking up passengers and driver welfare.
April 1960 All Through the Night Tim Turner Out on the trunk roads with the "artic" night lorries. It's a tough life for these "trunkers"

Disc 2 (1960–1963)

Date of Feature Title Narrator Synopsis
April 1960 Over and Under Tim Turner Painting the Forth Bridge and a look at modern bridge-building including temporary bridges, taking place all over Britain today; but why are they so unattractive? There is competition on cost but why not design? Reflecting on past bridge successes and future methods of construction.
July 1960 Horse-power Riders Tim Turner Experts prove that safety on a motorcycle stems from control of the machines. The Royal Corp Signals demonstrate this. Following The AA and RAC in their training programmes supported by RoSPA, and over to the Isle of Man TT to see this year's winner John Surtees.
March 1962 Eyes of the Law Raymond Baxter A look at traffic controls in West Germany and their autobahns and how Britain can learn as they build miles of new motorway including the new Hammersmith Flyover.
April 1962 Scooter Commuter Tim Turner Amidst the jams, In ten years, the number of scooters on British Roads has increased from 4,250 to over 470,000, and the convenience of "Corgi" style bikes. Remember your headscarf when you learn how to ride one!
May 1962 Sea Horses Tim Turner Featuring tugboats, without which any big port would come to a standstill.
September 1962 So They all Hover Now Tim Turner Today all kinds of things are using hover power. For passenger services, Trucks, barrows and even stretchers and how the declining ship yards of Clydeside are adapting to this new technology. Featuring the SR.N2.
September 1962 The Village Sleeps Again Tim Turner The arguments for and against building by-passes, featuring Transport Minister Ernest Marples, how these can be built through many urban areas, how objections to new routes can be overcome and what effect they are having on previously swamped towns and villages.
January 1963 Birdmen Tim Turner Discovering the origins and evolution of man-powered flight focusing on the John Wimpenny is the first man to pedal himself through the air for more than half a mile on the Puffin, designed and built by instructors and students of the de Havilland Aeronautical Technical School.
April 1963 Draw the Fires Tim Turner The railways are changing, with coal-powered steam being phased out and replaced by diesel engines by 1972. Crowds pay their respects to the Flying Scotsman's last departure from Kings Cross as it is replaced by a 33-horsepower diesel. The network is being modernised by new signalling, longer continuous track on concrete sleepers and flyovers, and controversial closures of lines.
June 1963 The Car Has Wings Tim Turner Natural boundaries no longer limit the range of motoring as cars are carried through tunnels, on ferries, over the new Forth Road Bridge, by train, air ferry and possibly by hovercraft in the future.
June 1963 Vintage Models Raymond Baxter Meeting the veteran car enthusiast and looking at the restoration of vintage vehicles with a visit to National Motor Museum, Beaulieu Montagu Motor Museum at Beaulieu in the New Forest, the high-speed trials at Silverstone and the famous London to Brighton run
July 1963 Pilot Aboard The story of Britain's pilotage services.
August 1963 Where No Tide Flows A look at canals today and how they have been rediscovered by holidaymakers.

Disc 3 (1963–1965)

Date of Feature Title Narrator Synopsis
November 1963 High, Wide and Faster Closer co-ordination between our roads, railways and coastal shipping.
December 1963 Oil Aboard The story of the oil tankers and the crews that sail in them.
December 1963 Report on a River Following the River Thames from its source in Gloucestershire to the Port of London, which is modernising services and keep traffic moving.
December 1963 Europe Grows Together An urgent look at Britain's links with the Continent.
April 1964 Turn of the Wheel A look at what is happening to the old trains and buses that are being replaced.
May 1964 City of Air A look at the many aspects of London Airport with a focus on BOAC and BEA airlines.
August 1964 Behind the Ton-Up Boys A reflection on the nearly two million motorcyclists in Britain.
August 1964 Going Places Under Water The world's first underwater sightseeing bus.
November 1964 Living with Cars Analysis of what is being done to cope with the increasing number of cars on our roads. Includes footage from London and Cumbernauld.
December 1964 Flying to Work The increasing number of private planes and helicopters in Britain's airspace.
February 1965 The Spirit of Brooklands The story of the Surrey motor racing circuit.
April 1965 Weather Adviser How special ships maintain a constant watch on the weather, whatever the conditions.
May 1965 What Price Safety? A look at what is being done to make cars and roads safer.
September 1965 Down in the Dumps How the problem of dumped cars is being addressed.

Disc 4 (1965–1969)

Date of Feature Title Narrator Synopsis
November 1965 Cats of the Sea The thrill of sailing catamarans.
March 1966 Breaking the Ice Looking at the icebreakers which keep shipping routes open.
December 1966 Skimming through the Sixties Revisiting the Hovercraft and how it has been evolving.
December 1966 The Big Take-Off Assessing what is happening to Britain's aircraft industry in the face of competition.
March 1967 Lighter than Air Going up in a hot air balloon.
May 1967 Just an Accident The shocking statistic that twenty people are killed on the roads daily.
May 1967 Scrambling for It The motor sport which is attracting thousands of followers.
June 1967 The Straights of Dover A closer look at the 750 ships that pass through the five-mile wide shipping channel every day.
August 1967 Where Do You Leave the Boat? The problems of where to keep pleasure boats as more are built.
October 1967 Pushing the Bike The impact of the bicycle on the world today.
December 1967 Playing Trains How despite moves to diesel and electric traction thousands of people are still running steam locomotives on unprofitable branch lines.
September 1968 The City's for Living In A response to the Buchanan Report with a focus on Bath and Norwich as to how British cities face the danger of the impact of traffic on the environment.
March 1969 All in a Day's Work People who travel the world by air as part of their everyday jobs.
March 1969 A Load of Pheasants Following intercontinental deliveries by lorries that travel through Britain's ferry ports.

Volume 2: Military

Disc 1 (1960–1961)

Date of Feature[4] Title Narrator Synopsis[5]
1960 The Black Arrows Tim Turner The acrobatic team "Treble-One" Squadron who performed daring manoeuvres in jets capable of more than 700 mph.
1960 Ceremonial Soldier As we see, the sentries at Buckingham Palace are still highly efficient soldiers.
1960 Soldier Abroad Tim Turner A soldier's life at the HQ of the 3rd Royal Tank Regiment in Detmold, West Germany.
1960 Under the Rocket Tim Turner Life at the rocket range in Woomera, South Australia, through the eyes of a young REME corporal and his wife.
1960 Thunder in Waiting Tim Turner The deadly cargo of the Vulcan bomber is a crucial part of Britain's deterrent force.
1960 'A Piece of Cake' Tim Turner A film about the parachutists of the Parachute Regiment.
1960 Return to Arms Tim Turner A study of the new West German army.
1960 Submarine Tim Turner A glimpse of life and work in a submarine.
1961 The Rocket-Age Lancers Tim Turner Looking to the future with the 9th Queen's Royal Lancers.
1961 Air Umbrella A look at NATO's international squadrons, with footage of the F104 Starfighter.
1960 Flight Deck Tim Turner The aircraft carrier is now the nerve centre of any large naval operation.
1961 Pipeline Tim Turner Refuelling both in the air and at sea.
1961 Girls Ahoy! John Witty Formed in wartime, the Women's Royal Naval Service is still going strong.
1961 Survival Tim Turner A look at survival techniques with Peter Whittingham and RAF expert Jock Wishart.
1961 Muscle Men Tim Turner A fast-moving film with enough vigour to prove that muscle and brawn still count!

Disc 2 (1961–1964)

Date of Feature Title Narrator Synopsis
1961 Action This Day The tough training of the Royal Marine Commandos – some of Britain's finest fighting men.
1961 Char and Wad The work of the NAAFI – from Kuwait to Gibraltar, Germany to Cyprus.
1962 Test Pilot A look at the RAF Lightning, supersonic watchdog of Britain's skies.
1962 Rendered Safe A look at the work of a bomb disposal squad.
1962 The Last Battleship The life and death of HMS Vanguard, and the uses to which her steel will be put.
1962 Amphibian A look at the DUKW and other amphibious military craft.
1962 Turning Blades The world of the helicopter in 1962; from the Belvedere to the experimental Rotodyne VTOL craft.
1962 Plumbing the Depths A film showing the importance of surveying the world's seas and oceans.
1962 Golden Wings A look at various aircraft, including the Blackburn monoplane, the Sopwith Pup and the Hart.
1962 The Black Watch The Queen Mother visits the Black Watch on the banks of the River Tay.
1963 Girls of the Air The girls behind the men who fly: members of the WRAF.
1963 The Sky's the Limit Aerobatics, born of necessity in World War I, now form part of the RAF's training.
1964 Forward, March! The infantryman is the indispensable soldier of the British Army.
1964 Doctor on Call A look at a flying doctor service based near Kuala Lumpur.
1964 Trouble-Shooters A film showing Britain's trouble-shooters, the Royal Marines, in Sarawak.

Disc 3 (1964–1969)

Date of Feature Title Narrator Synopsis
1964 Under One Umbrella The story of how three fighting services were united under one command – the MOD.
1964 The Price of Valour An insight into the lives of some of the holders of the Victoria Cross.
1964 The Jet Folk We see the impact of the United States Third Air Force, stationed in Britain.
1964 Drummers of the Queen A look at the little-known Junior Guardsmen's Company.
1965 The Flying Soldier A look at helicopter training within the British Army.
1965 The Cherry-Pickers Following the 11th Hussars from Hanover to Coburg.
1965 Jumping Jets The revolutionary vertical take-off capacity of the RAF Kestrel.
1966 Air Lift How Transport Command of the RAF keeps Zambia's economy alive.
1966 Down to Earth Following WRAF girls as they trek into the jungle.
1966 East of Suez More than 50,000 British soldiers, sailors and airmen police the rivers and jungles of Borneo.
1966 School for Skymen A glimpse into the world of the RAF College at Cranwell.
1967 Moving Day How the headquarters of NATO was moved from France to Belgium.
1967 Free Fall The story of the Falcons – free-fall professionals.
1968 Jumping For Joy The story of the Royal Green Jackets Skydiving Team.
1969 Underwater Menace Dealing with the hazardous legacy of World War II.

Volume 3: Science

Disc 1 (1959–1963)

Date of Feature Title Narrator Synopsis[6]
1959 Follow the Stars E.V.H. Emmett There are many who follow the stars. Some believe they can indicate the future, while astronomers spend their nights observing the heavens through the great telescopes at Jodrell Bank.
? A Marriage is Arranged E.V.H. Emmett How a marriage between steel and plastic is successfully forged at British steelworks.
1960 Channel Tunnel Tim Turner A visit to the trial tunnel and a look at all the scientific research necessary.
1960 Healing Hands The onward march of surgery – and the dedicated research behind the scenes of medicine.
1960 Testing Time Tim Turner A film about all the different things that need to be tested in Britain today.
1960 Making a Meal Out of It Tim Turner A film looking at various aspects of food, visiting research laboratories as well as taking a look at food from the turn of the century.
1961 Press-Button Age Tim Turner Every day is another step into the press-button age; this film shows how our lives are increasingly regulated by automation.
1961 Flood Tide Tim Turner How the ceaseless battle with the sea is being fought with the aid of the Flood Warning System.
1961 Men With Ideas A film providing insight into the machinery of patenting.
1961 Mystery of a Fish From the River Axe in Devon, scientists catch every young salmon that swims downstream in an effort to map this species' incredible voyage.
1962 Rockets Away! A film exploring the research being done on rockets, for both peaceful purposes and defence.
1962 The Little Menace A study of what is being done in medical research.
1962 Trouble on Oily Waters The dumping of oil waste in the sea has created a new menace along Britain's shoreline.
1962 Any Old Iron? This film turns the spotlight on the people who prepare salvaged steel for re-use, and on the steel foundries which melt it down again.
1963 Caught in the Cold Every year, Britain gets caught in the cold; cities crawl to a standstill, and road and rail traffic is disrupted. Why does this happen in an age of scientific miracles?

Disc 2 (1963–1964)

Date of Feature Title Narrator Synopsis
1963 Figure it Out The story of computers: from electronic tape and punched cards, to austere-looking robots.
1963 Keeping Clean An interesting look at the new mechanised way of cleaning.
1963 The Destroyers Pests come in all shapes and sizes, from the woodworm and grain weevil to the homely city pigeon. This film shows the research which goes on to control them.
1963 Back-Room of the Sky At Boscombe Down, on the edge of Salisbury Plain, every part of a new plane is tested, and it is then flown to its operational limit. Not only are the aircraft tested, but also the men who fly them.
1963 People of Power A close look at the operation of the Berkeley Nuclear Power Station.
1963 Second Chance This moving film shows an achievement in which science and humanity have combined to offer the 100,000 people in Britain who have lost a limb a chance to live happy and useful lives.
1963 Key of the Door A look at the educational centres where training in technical subjects is aiming to keep pace with the demands of this scientific age.
1963 You Can't Catch Much from a Fish Look at Life went to see what the six months' compulsory quarantine means to the 3,000 dogs and 500 cats brought into Britain each year.
1963 Men Under Pressure This exciting film shows the work of the men who build tunnels below water level, and the scientific and medical care that ensures they suffer no ill-effects from their unusual occupation.
1964 Fings are Getting Smaller Taking a look at how everything is being reduced in size in the new compact age.
1964 Salute the Engineer More and more engineers are needed to keep pace with developing industry; this film offers a glimpse of the wide range of jobs they undertake.
1964 So Much Flattery! Few realise how far the art of imitation has developed. Synthetic furs and jewellery, artificial flowers and copies of great paintings, 'marble' made of laminated plastic, and that most quotidian of imitations – artificial teeth.
1964 Having a Baby A look at the medical and social services available for both hospital and home births.
1964 Power Needs No Passport Stretching across Western Europe is a network of electric power stations, linked by the transmission lines that span a continent. This is the story of an ever-present problem: Europe's increasing need for electricity.
1964 Wealth Under the Sea A trip to the North Sea to follow the search for oil.

Disc 3 (1964–1969)

Date of Feature Title Narrator Synopsis
1964 By Bread Alone A look at what is happening in the baking industry as scientists try to find out why bread doesn't keep fresh longer and to solve the problem of staleness.
1965 Frontiers of Medicine Machines are playing an increasing part not only in the treatment of disease, but also in helping to find out the causes of illness.
1965 Sugaring the Pill Large numbers of pills are consumed every year; this film takes a look at the growth of the pharmaceutical industry.
1965 Beating the Racket A look at what is being done to reduce noise levels.
1965 Will Taps Run Dry? Much of Britain faces a water shortage every year. This film reveals the complex business of ensuring that the taps don't run dry.
1966 Treading on the Gas Following the ships that come from the Sahara Desert bringing methane gas.
1966 Boxes of Tricks The teaching machine – the educational box of tricks – is being used increasingly today in schools, universities and industry.
1966 The Givers Britain's National Blood Transfusion Service came of age in 1967. It was the first of its kind in the world; Britain was and is today the best organised and equipped.
1967 What Price Ideas? Taking a look at the new inventions that are being made in Britain today.
1967 Cleaning People A look at the dry-cleaning business and the work of the chemists behind it.
1967 Press-Button Farms A revolution is taking place down on the farm – the machines are taking over, so that the modern farmer can operate his farm almost single-handed.
1967 Keeping Tabs on Space A look at Britain's first spacecraft, UK3, and how it was created, tested and launched.
1968 Brain Drain The brain drain, mainly in young scientists and engineers, has risen to a rate of 6,000 men a year. Why do they go?
1968 North Sea Commuters A film providing the background to the tapping of the vast supply of natural energy that Britain has discovered on her doorstep.
1969 Their Lifeline – The Nile A film about the colossal Aswan High Dam – Egypt's greatest hope for the future.

Volume 4: Sport

Disc 1

Date of Feature Title Narrator Synopsis
1959 Jumping to Aintree E.V.H. Emmett Watching the winner of the 1959 Grand National.
Derby Day Going to the races on Derby Day at Epsom Downs.
Kings of Speed
Making an Effort
Four Men Down
Ten Pins Down
Smashing Through
Solent Saturday
1960 Saturday Fever Cliff Michelmore A look at the phenomenon of Saturday football through the eyes of fans watching Tottenham Hotspur. The film looks at the men who are the chief actors in the Saturday football drama, both off duty and in training.
Out for a Catch
Against the Clock
Man into Fish
Ski Fever A look into what British Skiers are doing, both at Glencoe in the Scottish Highlands and at Murren, where British Championships provide almost as many thrills - if not such high speeds - as international events.

Disc 2

Date of Feature Title Narrator Synopsis
1961 The Ball at His Feet Kenneth Wolstenholme League football is a notoriously competitive profession; of thousands of players given trials every year by the top clubs, only a handful will reach the top. This film shows what it takes to get there, and why soccer remains Britain's most popular sport.
A Hundred Thousand Oarsmen A fascinating look at the sport of rowing.
Snow Business
Riding it Rough
Target - The Stadium
Flight of Fancy
Getting Wet
See How They Jump!
It's a Gamble
Queue for the Tee
In the Kart
Over My Shoulder
Women with Leisure
Rulers of Racing Look at Life goes behind the scenes to take a closer look at how the Jockey Club works.

Disc 3

Date of Feature Title Narrator Synopsis
Winning the Hard Way A look at our amateur athletics, and also the need for better facilities and coaching.
Bookies at the Crossroads A look at the future of Britain's bookmakers.
How Do You Swing?
Living on Skis
Cricket on Test
Room at the Top?
Out of a Bomb-Site
Behind the World Cup
Over the Sticks
Sea Riders
Racing to the Start
White Water Craft
Single-Handed Sailors
It's Odds on the Fish For some anglers, betting is now a regular feature in competitions. For others, such commercialism is unthinkable. This film considers the problems of ensuring that angling continues as a form of sport and relaxation.

Volume 5: Cultural Heritage

Disc 1

Date of Feature Title Narrator Synopsis
A Dog's Life Uncredited A film looking at London from a dog's point of view.
Down London River Tim Turner A leisurely journey through London along the Thames.
Coffee Bar Uncredited A film that examines the cult world of the coffee bar and its habits.
Garden of Tomorrow Roy Hay A film for everyone who loves a garden, for everyone who loves a gadget. and for those who have never had a chance to see the Chelsea Flower Show in all its glory.
Harvest of Hops Tim Turner A look at a typical London family on their annual hop-picking holiday.
Island of Men Tim Turner Fair Isle, famous for its distinctive woollens, faces a problem: more than two thirds of its inhabitants are men. But the island is still a very happy place to live.
Top People Tim Turner A look at a new generation in the City of London, from the crane drivers helping rebuild it to the flat-dwellers overlooking this throbbing heart of commerce.
Rebirth of a City Tim Turner A film that documents the first steps in the rebuilding of Coventry after the devastation of the Second World War.
Shopping by the Ton Tim Turner A film showing London's main markets at their busiest time and capturing all the energy and bustle of three old markets, the market mean and their generations-old traditions.
Towns By Design Wynford Vaughan-Thomas A Look at some of the 'New Towns' being built around the country.
Fairs Please Tim Turner
Ringing the Changes Uncredited
Hyde Park Corner Tim Turner
The Big Blow Tim Turner
Woman-Power Stephen Potter
Art Is A Business Tim Turner

Disc 2

Date of Feature Title Narrator Synopsis
Counting Heads Antony Bilbow
Looking for Nothing
The Dance of Life
Why All the Rush?
On the Map
Chickens in the Mill
Treasure Houses
State Occasions
Down in the Forest
Meet the Mayor
Under Your Feet
The Silent Change
Signposts of the Sea
The City's Built for Shooting
New Universities
Rag Time

Disc 3

Date of Feature Title Narrator Synopsis
Market Day
They Learn as They See
Jazz All the Way
Island Refuge
Holiday Camps
Sound of a City
Saving a Heritage
The Way of Reckoning
Lady by the Sea
Early Starters
But Not on a Sunday
The Things They Sell
Boys Without Girls
Members Only
City of Sailors
Why Drown Yourself?

Disc 4

Date of Feature Title Narrator Synopsis
In the Livery
The Needles Point the Way
Crisis in the Cathedral
The Tower of Babble
On Tape for Tomorrow
The Abbey Backstage
The Shape of Things
The Churchill Pilgrimage
High and Dry
IN Gear
Hidden Treasure
Goodbye, Piccadilly
Change at the Tower
The Spoilers
Queue for Gardens
In the Honours List

Volume 6: World Affairs

Disc 1

Date of Feature Title Narrator Synopsis[7]
1959 Marrakesh E.V.H. Emmett A look at Morocco's historical third city.
1959 The Divided City Tim Turner A look at the two very different faces of Berlin.
1959 Operation Noah's Ark George Cansdale The building of Africa's Kariba Dam created a vast lake, meaning death for the animals marooned on higher ground; this film shows the work done to save them.
1960 Seaway Uncredited A look at the opening of the Saint Lawrence seaway.
1960 Village of Violins Uncredited A visit to the village of Mittenwald in the Bavarian Alps, where for 300 years violin-making has been a traditional craft.
1960 Gibraltar's New Day Tim Turner Gibraltar has been a British outpost since 1704. This film visits the island as it prepares to become a holiday destination.
1960 The Wind of Change Tim Turner A look at developments and achievements in Africa during the 1950s and 1960s.
1960 Power for Africa Tim Turner A further look at Africa – in particular its increasing capacity to harness its waters.
1961 Rolling out from Rio Tim Turner Six hundred miles inside Brazil stands the new capital Brasilia, one of the 20th century's most imaginative projects.
1961 Lady of Japan Antony Bilbow A look at the development of Japan, and especially Tokyo.
1961 Flags over the Temples Antony Bilbow A look at the impact of the south-east Asia treaty organisation (SEATO) in Thailand.
1961 City of Crisis John Witty A film that takes another look at the crisis-torn city of Berlin.
1962 A Problem of People Tim Turner A film examining the ways in which Pakistan is tackling its immense refugee problem.
1962 Eagle's Nest Tim Turner Berchtesgaden, in the Bavarian Alps, attracts visitors from all over the world; many come to see Hitler's 'Eagle's Nest', a feat of construction that survived World War II.

Disc 2

Date of Feature Title Narrator Synopsis
1962 The Maple has New Leaves Gordon Tanner A film showing the emigration to Canada of a typical English family.
1962 Chasing the Dragon Tim Turner A look at illegal drug trafficking in Hong Kong and the problems of heroin addiction.
1962 The Trail leads Upwards Tim Turner A visit to a native Canadian family, and a look at the construction of a new bridge across the Niagara river.
1962 G.H.Q., Middle East Tim Turner A mixture of the old and the new: a look at G.H.Q. middle east at Aden.
1962 The Wall Tim Turner A visit to Hadrian's wall in Northumberland, and a more detailed examination of the Berlin wall.
1962 Out of the Sun Tim Turner A look at immigration from the West Indies into Britain.
1962? Common Market John Snagge An assessment of the progress of the Common Market during a period in which its member countries have begun to remove trade barriers.
1962 The Changing River Tim Turner A film looking at the changing face of the River Rhine.
1962 Millions on the March Brian Connell Following the state visit of Queen Elizabeth II, this film looks at India's development in terms of farming and industry.
1962 Call from the Wild Peter Scott A look at wildlife protection in North and South Rhodesia, and the development of national parks.
1963 Out of the Bush Tim Turner A look at the emerging independent countries of Africa, featuring images of life in both the village and the city.
1963 Men of the Woods Tim Turner For centuries the men of Berchtesgaden have earned their living from the trees that surround them; now mechanisation is eroding their traditional skills.
1963 Forging New Links Tim Turner The story of Ulster began when James I obtained money from the city of London to colonise the north of Ireland. This film looks at Ulster's role in Britain's productivity.
1963 Gypsy Holiday Tim Turner Each year, Europe's gypsies make a pilgrimage to the Camargue – the wild corner of France where the Rhône meets the Mediterranean.
1963 Pick of the Bunch Tim Turner A look at wine producing in France and Germany.

Disc 3

Date of Feature Title Narrator Synopsis
1964 The New Australians Tim Turner A trip to Australia to see how the country is coping with its large intake of immigrants.
1964 Men of the Snowy Tim Turner Few migrants have ever found a more spectacular role than the men working together on Australia's vast project to harness the waters of the Snowy River.
1964 Singapore is Youth Tim Turner A look at a modern, forward-looking Singapore.
1964 Off the Sheep's Back Tim Turner Australia has 15 times more sheep than people, with wool providing nearly half of the country's export earnings. But how does Australia envision its future?
1964 Constant Hot Water Tim Turner A film looking at the volcanic zone of New Zealand, and the hot water it produces.
1964 Tide on the Turn Tim Turner This film looks at the economic and social impact of foreign industrialists in the Irish republic.
1964 Malta Milestone Tim Turner With the demise of the great naval dockyard, Malta has sought new ways to generate income...
1965 Women at Sea Tim Turner A look at the various seafaring jobs for women – from work on the great passenger liners, to merchant navies.
1965 James Bond's Island Peter Hawkins A look at post-independence Jamaica, and the country's hope to gain a firm footing in the modern world.
1965 Volunteers for Service Tim Turner Part of the contribution made by Britain to assist newly independent countries in increasing their skills and knowledge.
1965 Men Against the Sea Tim Turner For centuries the Dutch have fought against the sea: this film looks at the delta plan – a spectacular sea-defence scheme.
1966 The Curtain Changes John Snagge A look at the frontiers between Eastern and Western Europe.
1966 On Top of the World Tim Turner A look at the changing way of life in Lapland – the vast tract of forest land that stretches across the north of Norway, Sweden and Finland, and into Russian.
1966 Swedish Pattern Michael Ingrams Look at Life goes to Sweden to examine the country's pioneering way of life – and potential influence on Britain.
1966 Market by the Danube Roger Wesson A visit behind the iron curtain to Hungary to see how it has changed.

Disc 4

Date of Feature Title Narrator Synopsis
1966 The Beach Peter Duval Smith The world's most famous beach is the Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro. But overlooking it are the shacks of the world's poorest people.
1966 Face Lift Tim Turner A tale of two cities looking at the ways in which Paris and London have set about cleaning up their appearance.
1966 Incas in bowler hats Tim Turner The majority of the Bolivian population is Indian, with traditions dating back to the Incas. But the problem of uniting the Bolivians of Indian and Spanish descent remains.
1966 One in Six Tim Turner A look at Luxembourg, a country of 1,000 square miles and, in the early 1960s, a population of 50,000.
1966 An Island Awakes Tim Turner Sardinia was once considered a depressed area; this film looks at the changes resulting from a major development plan.
1966 City of all Nations Tim Turner A visit to São Paulo in Brazil, a city which is growing continually each year.
1966 The Six come closer Tim Turner A close look at the European Community, showing some of the problems that the common market has had to solve.
1966 Jobs where you like Tim Turner A film examining one of the most exciting aspects of the common market: the free movement of migrant workers.
1966 Pipeline to plenty Tim Turner A look at how Kuwait is coping with its newly acquired wealth, and the provisions being made for the future.
1967 End of a Polish march Tim Turner A look at the lives of Britain's Polish community.
1967 Once upon a time... John Witty A trip to Denmark to look at the Danish way of life.
1967 Living on a volcano Tim Turner Ascension Island is home to many families, who sometimes work there for up to two years.
1967 Chinatown Michael Ingrams A look at the world of the Chinese who have made Britain their home.

Disc 5

Date of Feature Title Narrator Synopsis
1967 Inside Russia 1: Fifty! Michael Ingrams A film providing a background to the achievements of the Russian people – expressed in great housing schemes, giant dams and, of course, the conquest of space.
1967 Inside Russia 2: The Heiresses Michael Ingrams A look at the role of women in the soviet union – from helping to build new flats to running factories, driving buses to presiding over divorce courts.
1967 Inside Russia 3: Childhood Antony Bilbow A film that traces the story of Russian children, through kindergarten, school and university.
1967 Inside Russia 4: The Woken Land Michael Ingrams Although Siberia conjures up a picture of exile and slave labour, the new Siberia has modern cities with young populations. This film explores life east of the Urals.
1968 Winter Blossoms John Westbrook A look at the rapid changes taking place in the Algarve, with the planning of luxury development schemes along the coastline.
1968 Man of the Desert Uncredited A look at changes taking place in Tunisia, ten years after it gained independence.
1968 Something new under Everest Michael Ingrams Nepal, once a forbidden country, is opening up; this film offers a picture of life in one of the world's most picturesque countries, as old customs give way to new ideas.
1968 A new shade of red Michael Ingrams A look at the changing pattern of Czech life during the upheaval of 1968.
1968 Coming of Age Michael Ingrams A film about India; what has been achieved, and what still remains to be done in the sub-continent where problems are never small ones.
1968 Home is Tibet Michael Ingrams A film looking at Tibetan refugees, and the way in which their Dalai Lama has kept the scattered community intact.
1968 The Sinking City Martin Jarvis A look at the efforts being made to prevent Venice from sinking.
1968 Escape into Riches Michael Ingrams A look at the spiritual wealth of India – as expressed in her art and design, her music and dance, and her sculpture and architecture.
1969 In the shadow of the Wall Tim Brinton Behind the Berlin wall is a death-strip with electrified fences and watchtowers; this film also looks at the rebuilding of West Berlin, and the hope of reunification.
1969 After the Queen's visit Duncan Carse In 1968, the Queen paid a state visit to Chile ("only 21 hours by jet from London") – the first British reigning monarch to do so. This film considers what the future holds for this country.
1969 Look at Man Martin Jarvis Look at Life visits the Isle of Man to discover why it wants greater independence.

Volume 7: Business and Industry

Disc 1

Date Title Narrator Synopsis[8]
Market Place Sidney James Sid James narrates a film looking at street markets at a time when they are increasingly forced to compete with modern supermarkets.
A Car Is Born Bill Hartley A survey of the success of the British car, this film considers the various stages of design, production and testing to build up a fascinating profile of the industry
Saving Face A look at the magic of the beauty business
Money Talks Tim Turner A film investigating the complex world of money.
Down on the Farm Tim Turner A look at the newest developments in farming of every kind.
Bottle Party Tim Turner Look at Life tells the fascinating story of why we throw away 200 million bottles every year!
Under the Hammer Tim Turner A look at the world of auctions, from the often characteristic auctioneers selling every kind of commodity, to the many different people who come to their sale-rooms.
A Year for a Day Tim Turner For many people in Britain, Christmas provides an all-year-round job, with crackers, cards, decorations and the growing of trees offering constant employment.
Roman Invasion Tim Turner Long before the era of the Italian coffee bar came the ice cream man, the organ grinder and the cafe owner; before them, the innovative invaders of 2,000 years ago...
On The Mark Tim Turner Shooting is big business in Britain today, and this film looks at that business – from the production and testing of guns to their use on moors and ranges.
Shares in To-morrow Antony Bilbow A study of the exciting world of stock exchanges and how a deal is done between a broker and a jobber.
Shelling Out Tim Turner This unusual film examines the world of shellfish – from the delicate-tasting oyster to the humbler mussel, and the sudden popularity of scampi.
What A Pet! Tim Turner A light-hearted survey of the pet world in general and the budgerigar part of it in particular. A film that every pet owner will love.
Ice Age John Witty The manufacture and multifarious uses of an abundantly available substance: ice!
And So To Bed Antony Bilbow A look at the manufacture of one of modern life's most important purchases, the mattress.
Coming, Sir! Tim Turner An interesting look into the developing hotel industry and the problems it has to face.
Tulip Town Antony Bilbow The Story of Spalding, told on the most significant day in the town's calendar: that of the annual Flower Parade, when over 8,000,000 tulip heads show visitors the glory of the tulip industry.
1961 For the Record Jean Metcalfe How Helen Shapiro's 1961 hit "Walkin' Back To Happiness" was recorded; pressed and distributed.
Jobs with a Thrill Tim Turner Think your job is too boring? See what these men do for a living.
Roses All The Way Antony Bilbow England's national emblem for centuries, the rose is our most fragrant export. This sparding film looks at the enduringly popular perennial gracing millions of gardens.

Disc 2

Date of Feature Title Narrator Synopsis
Everything Stops For Tea Tim Turner Everything stops when the kettle boils! This is the story of what happens to our national beverage from the time it is landed at the London docks until it reaches our teapots.
Lights Up Tim Turner The subject of modern lighting is explored and a colourful and intriguing survey given of the people who make, experiment with, and use light.
Fish and Ships Tim Turner A look at the tough and exacting work of the deep-sea trawlermen. Science might aid them in their work, but in the end it is courage, resourcefulness and determination that really count.
The Hat Trick David Nixon An intriguing look at the manufacturing of hats.
At the End of a Rope Tim Turner A fascinating yarn, not merely about rope-making but of rope's many uses - from cliff rescues to rock-climbing and the scaling of cooling towers.
Pictures Tell the Story Tim Turner
The Box on the Wall Tim Turner
Crowning Glory Tim Turner
Rising to High Office Tim Turner A look at London's changing skyline, including the new Shell Centre
The Trade Winds Blow Antony Bilbow A trip to the north-east of England and a look at its precarious position in modern industry
Glamour Gets a Passport Tim Turner
A Pinch of Salt Tim Turner
Silver's New Shine Tim Turner
The Golden West Tim Turner
For Crying Out Loud! Tim Turner
Stone Age Tim Turner
Ups and Downs Tim Turner
Spuds Galore Tim Turner A look at the humble potato
Money in the Slot Tim Turner
1964 The Other Film World Tim Turner A film about film and its applications in industry and technology

Disc 3

Date of Feature Title Narrator Synopsis
Laying The Table Tim Turner
New Hands on the Farm Tim Turner
Down Town Michael Ingrams
Farming For Fish Tim Turner
Putting More Beef into It Tim Turner
The Sweet Life Tim Turner
Living on Smoke Tim Turner
Cover Story Michael Ingrams A look at the increasing popularity of paperback books
Evening Paper! Tim Turner
Music by the Mile Tim Turner
Home Tomorrow Michael Ingrams
Roll Out The Barrel Tim Turner
The Hidden Strength Tim Turner
Putting up a Show Tim Turner
1967 Put to the Test Michael Ingrams
1967 Put Out The Flags Tim Turner The uses and making of flags
1967 On The Scent Tim Turner
1967 Hopping Along! Martin Jarvis A look at the disappearing world of the Kent hop pickers
1968 Top Chef Eugene Kaufeler A day in the life of Eugene Kaufeler, head chef at London's Dorchester Hotel
1968 Can you read this? Michael Ingrams A look at literacy in modern Britain

Volume 8: People and Places

Disc 1

Date of Feature Title Narrator Synopsis
Cause for Alarm Tim Turner
Dustmen's Day Sidney James & Michael Henderson
Let's Go Dancing
Running Dry
Model World
Student Nurse
In the Swim
Safe in a Boat
Glamour Girls
I Protest!
Brains - Unlimited
Wheel Power
Keeping Fit
All Their Own Work
Holiday - With Pay
Women in Green
Up to Scratch

Disc 2

Date of Feature Title Narrator Synopsis
Going to Blazes
High Tension
Match Makers
Battle of the Bulge
Prison on Wheels
Controlled Landing
Men in the Mode
High Rise
Relax, Relax!
A Girl's Best Friend
Earning Their Keep
Getting a Move On
The Cinema Steps Out
One Horse-Power
A Clean Sweep
In Good Shape
Blue Streak

Disc 3

Date of Feature Title Narrator Synopsis
...Through Glass
Beauty - and the Rest
Island at the Crossroads
The Greatest of These...
As Good as Gold
Rolling Home
Digging Up the Past
Glorious Mud
Instant Homes
Do it Yourself
Who Wants a Statue?
Donkey Work
What's on the Roof?
Calling the Tune
Keeping in Touch
Crossing the Channel

Disc 4

Date of Feature Title Narrator Synopsis
Tax Haven
One for the Road
Old School Tie
Blood and Fire
Putting on a Act
Tails of the Law
Cool Cats
A Policeman's Lot
You're Under Inspection
Anything to Declare?
When the Debs Come Out
A New Deal for Deer
Away from the Blackboard
A Fair Cop
Jobs for Dogs
Inside Jobs
Fire Over London

Disc 5

Date of Feature Title Narrator Synopsis
Clearway for Ships
After Harold Fell
Space for Adventure
With the Lions
Loads for Roads
Things Out of Space
Look - No Hands!
Topping Out
Eating High
No Place Like Home
Way Out West
Out of the Rainbow
The Hair Set
Taking the Waters
Collector's Pieces
Funny Business is No Joke
In For a Fast

Disc 6

Date of Feature Title Narrator Synopsis
Who Needs Eel Pie?
Coming to Terms
Ark in the Sky
Booming Good Wishes
Gardens to Order
Pulling the Strings
Murder Bag
So Much Hot Air
Little Orphan Annie
Out of the Inn
Gun Dogs
Mini and Mod
Stuck on Stamps
The Big Sell
High Living
The Throwaway Society
Some of My Best Friends are People!

Disc 7

Date of Feature Title Narrator Synopsis
There Ought to be a Law... There is!
City Dogs
On the Meter
Painting People
The Ganges Might Lead Anywhere
Switch On at Seven
Hot History
Where Have All The Butterflies Gone?
Watch on the Coast
Southern Miracle
Model Girl
Gold in the Mud
Bronze, Silver and Gold
Saturday Special


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 10 February 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ "Look at Life". BUFVC. Retrieved 6 July 2016.
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 6 August 2013. Retrieved 20 February 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 1 November 2013. Retrieved 6 October 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^
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