Friday, 16 December 2011

YouTube XL: Classic British TV Documentaries In Full

Following on yesterday’s look at films available on YouTube, here’s a delve into the digital factbucket of documentaries made available on there. If you want to queue them all up on your Xbox, PC or whatnot, here’s several of the finest all in one playlist. Or, if you’d like to see them individually, read on.

As with our last collection, all of these are now viewable on Xbox Live’s YouTube app. Go on, even the dullest of these is 758 times more interesting than Call Of Sodding Duty 3.

BBC Synth Britannia (1h28m)


Splendid BBC Four documentary on the rise of electronic music.

This Is The BBC (1h21m)


Dating from 1959, this film – which won a BAFTA for ‘Best Specialised Film’ in 1959 – looks at 24 hours in the life of Auntie Beeb.

Television - The Race For Television (52m)


Also courtesy of the Alexandra Palace Television Society (who are well worth following on YouTube if you like old telly) is this, episode two of Granada’s excellent 1985 documentary series on the history of television, called ‘Television’. This episode looks at the early development of the gogglebox. Also includes terrifying footage of the puppet’s head Baird used for his early test transmission. It is terrifying.

Nineteen Eighty-Four (1954 BBCtv Version) (1h47m)


Not a documentary, UNLESS YOU’RE COUNTING IT AS A FUTURE DOCUMENTARY ON HOW LIFE WILL BE UNDER THE IRON FIST OF DAVID CAMERONS IF HE CONTINUES TO HAVE HIS EVIL WAY WITH THE PEOPLES OF BRITAIN, but worthy of inclusion while we’re going on about television landmarks. A live teleplay of George Orwell’s finest work, starring Peter Cushing.

Bill Hicks: Dark Poet (58m)


Yeah, we don’t even care about keeping to the theme now. This Radio 2 documentary from 2007 sees Phill Jupitus look at the life and work of Bilbo Hicks.

Arena – William S. Burroughs (1h26m)


Advice for young people: watch this, it is good. Dating from 1997, this Arena documentary provides an intimate and often moving portrait that reveals the man
through his own account of his life and his friends Allen Ginsburg,
Lucien Carr and Herbert Hunckie.

Dusty Springfield: Full Circle (58m)


Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders catch up with Dusty Springfield in this look back at her life, first broadcast in 1991 (we think). Martha Reeves, Dionne Warwick, Neil Tennant and Burt Bacharach all pop along for the ride.

Horizon - Nice Guys Finish First (45m)


In a subject also touched upon in his book ’The Selfish Gene’, Richard “God? Boo!” Dawkins looks at the subject of selfishness and cooperation, arguing that evolution often favours co-operative behaviour. First shown in 1987.

The War Game (46m)


If you’re planning on not spending the night being unable to sleep due to cowering under your duvet at the thought of nuclear annihilation, then look away now. This 1965 docu-predicto-drama looks at the effects of nuclear war on Britain. Not quite as piss-terrifying as Threads, but still galling enough to be pulled from the schedules at the time, not actually being shown on British screens until 1985.

The Movie Life of George (56m)


George Harrison, that is. This from Granada in 1989, an absolutely lovely look at the work of Handmade Films, including Life of Brian (which, in case you’ve not spotted, is where the title comes from). Even better, the video includes in-vision continuity from legendary Granada announcer Colin Weston. AND Michael Palin doing an after-dinner speech.

John Pilger - Japan Behind The Mask (51m)


Also available as part of the brilliant “In The Name of Justice” DVD box set, this Granada documentary from 1987 takes a look at Japanese society and the rising sense of nationalism amongst the Japanese population.




1 .:

Rigid Digit said...

The Movie Life Of George.
Forgot about that one, but I remember is absolutely.
It was that documentary that introduced me to Withnail & I - something I (but probably not my liver) is forever grateful for.
And Georges after-dinner speech contains a line I still try to always use to this day in any public speaking situation (including my wedding speech):
"Thanks for coming - now f**k off"

Thanks for finding it, now I don't have to search for it

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