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    PG - Beside the Seaside and Birth-day include scenes reflecting harmful racist views that were pervasive at the time of their making.

The Camera is Ours: Britain's Women Documentary Makers


A select programme highlighting Britain's pioneering women documentary makers from the 1930s to the late 1960s.

The trailblazing and innovative filmmakers featured in this programme all found ways to make work that showcased their distinctive talents and captured aspects of British life that would have eluded their male colleagues, in places such as the seaside, their homes, during pregnancy, the home front of WWII and through the social and domestic changes of the 1960s.

The Camera is Ours: Britain's Women Documentary Makers includes five films from key pioneers of the documentary form:

Beside the Seaside (Marion Grierson, 1935, 23 mins)
They Also Serve (Ruby Grierson, 1940, 9 mins)
Birth-day (Brigid ‘Budge’ Cooper, 1945, 22 mins)
Homes for the People (Kay Mander, 1945, 23 mins)
Something Nice to Eat (Sarah Erulkar, 1967, 21 mins)

The programme begins with Marion Grierson’s lyrical and inventive Beside the Seaside (1935), which gives us all the pleasures of Britain’s coast. They Also Serve (1940), Ruby Grierson’s dramatised documentary, is a hymn to the dedication of “the Housewives of Britain” during wartime. A public information film by Brigid ‘Budge’ Cooper, Birth-day (1945) explores the mysteries of maternity – this is the real Call the Midwife! – while Kay Mander’s powerful Homes for the People (1945) uses the then-radical technique of allowing working-class women to describe their own lives. Finally, the psychedelic spirit of the 1960s is ushered in by Sarah Erulkar’s Something Nice to Eat (1967), featuring Jean Shrimpton.


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