Visions of Change: The Evolution of the British TV Documentary Volume 1

Visions of Change: The Evolution of the British TV Documentary Volume 1: BBC 1951 – 1967 is part of the British Film Institute's ongoing effort to chronicle and reappraise the UK's contribution to the documentary form.

This double DVD set features ten BBC-produced documentaries by directors such as Ken Russell, John Schlesinger and Dennis Potter and focuses on wide range of topics - from a poetic look at the work of sculptor Henry Moore to an impressionistic take on the life of an unnamed Northern city, from a science-based piece focussing on test flights to a fly-on -the-wall documentary on a dispute over redundancies at a car delivery firm.

 Sculptor Henry Moore at work. Image courtesy of the British Film Institute. 

Sculptor Henry Moore at work. Image courtesy of the British Film Institute. 

Highlights are John Schlesinger's 3-minute film Song of the Valley, a lyrical mix of factual and fiction that is seemingly about a man reminiscing about his home town as he is being escorted to prison, and Ken Russell's exuberantly experimental Pop Goes the Easel, a portrait of Pop Art exponents Peter Blake, Pauline Boty, Derek Boshier and Peter Phillips. Russell's approach renounces traditional narration and chooses to reflect his subjects' artistic universe via fast-editing, Godard-inspired montages and a nightmarish sequence featuring Pauline Boty being pursued by a sinister wheelchair-bound villain through labyrinthian corridors.

Collecting over 6 hours of rarely-seen material, this DVD box-set is an invaluable addition for anyone with an interest in UK social history or documentary. It's also a welcome reminder of how imaginative and ground-breaking the documentary format can truly be. 

Visions of Change: The Evolution of the British TV Documentary Volume 1: BBC 1951 – 1967 is released on 14 December 2015 by the British Film Institute. The DVD box-set contains an illustrated booklet featuring authoritative essays and biographies