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Essentially British?: Cricket (1951)
In the Classroom


Cricket (1951) portrays the game as part of the very substance of England's education and a game with a rich history. What do students learn about the origins of the game from the clip? Challenge them to create a quick 'then and now' presentation on cricket, based on clip one and their own research (the websites of the International Cricket Council and the England and Wales Cricket Board are a good starting point).

There is scope to widen out this line of enquiry, looking at other popular sports in the UK. Use clip one from Think of England (1999) or the football scene from Island People (1940) (roughly 6 minutes into the film) to set up a comparison between cricket and football. Where did the two games come from? When did they appear in England? How similar or different are the audiences the two games attract? Can we learn anything about British society from the history of either sport? Perhaps your students could argue the case for one or the other as 'The Greatest English Sport', using the game's history as their principal argument. Which begs the question - why do we have national teams for England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland? Why not one British football or cricket team?

Using the second clip, consider the legacy of the British Empire with regard to sport. For example, the British exported cricket to India, but what about India's impact on Britain? Polo was discovered in India by British tea planters in the eighteenth century.

Useful films for comparison

  • Island People (1940): a scene about 6 minutes into the film shows more than 80,000 spectators at a football match.
  • Think of England (1999) Clip one: is football the most powerful sport in defining the national consciousness?


Do your students revere cricket in the same way as Sir Ralph Richardson? Are they cricket world cup fans or do they prefer football? You might use these clips to think about the role of sport in bringing a nation together. How powerful is cricket or football in unifying diverse groups of people? What about on a global level - do students think competitions like the Champion's League and the cricket and football world cups play an important role in bringing people of different nationalities together? Clip one of Think of England is good for football on a national level.

Useful films for comparison

  • Think of England (1999) Clip one: anxious and excitable England fans, faces painted with the St George cross, watch a football match on a pub TV screen.