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Essentially British?: Think of England (1999)

Material to accompany the BFI Mediatheque 'Essentially British' DVD.

Main image of Essentially British?: Think of England (1999)
For Modern Times, Mosaic Films for BBC, tx. 27/4/1999
49 mins, colour
DirectorMartin Parr
Focus Questions
In the Classroom

Photographer Martin Parr investigates the English people's attitudes towards their current cultural heritage and asks whether English people are proud of their nation or not.

This documentary by celebrated snapper Martin Parr is based on his book of iconic English images - a cup of tea, a village fete, the seaside. In Think of England, Parr travels to all corners of the land (including Dorset, Liverpool, Blackpool and Henley) to encounter such scenes and ask people what it means to be English. The answers he gets and the people he meets vary widely.

Clip one: short and sweet! This one minute long clip is the programme's opening sequence. The camera follows the roar of a crowd into a pub, where we see a group of anxious England football fans watching TV screen. Outside, one fan - his face painted with the St George's cross - chats to a friend about the match on his mobile before we cut to the opening title, 'Think of England'.

Clip two: A couple of Liverpudlians in the pub argue for devolution for the north. "I think, as a race, we in the North are far more superior to the English we see in the South," says one, but concedes that once, on holiday in Corfu, he met members of the 'Hemel Hempstead Hockey Club' and, despite his initial misgivings, had a thoroughly enjoyable time with them!

Follow the link to In The Classroom at the top of this page for teaching suggestions linked to History and Citizenship. In Focus Questions you'll find suggestions for questions to focus students' attention while watching the film. These will also help to develop their understanding of film language.

Video Clips
Downloadable Teaching Resources

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Read more about this programme

Related Lessons and Resources

Thumbnail image of KS3/4 Citizenship: Think of England (1999)KS3/4 Citizenship: Think of England (1999)

Is there a north/south divide?