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KS3 English: Commentating the Royal Wedding

A creative writing exercise using two newsreels

Main image of KS3 English: Commentating the Royal Wedding
AuthorGemma Starkey, BFI
TopicCreative writing
Curriculum linksKS3 English: writing to imagine, explore and entertain

The familiar occasion of a traditional wedding ceremony provides a springboard for students to produce imaginative and engaging writing.

Topical Budget (1911-31) was one of three major British newsreels of the silent era. These two short films - showing two significant weddings of the early 20th century - are characteristic of the output of a newsreel company from this time. They would have been shown to audiences as part of a longer programme in cinemas and other venues across Britain.

These newsreels can be used as the basis for a creative writing exercise. They provide the class with a framework to focus and structure their ideas around, requiring them to empathise with a number of different characters who might be viewing and commenting on the event.



Begin by watching both newsreels. Why do students think these films were made? Who do they think would have watched them? Do they have any idea of when they were made?

Now, split the class into two halves - giving one half The Royal Wedding newsreel and the other the Lady Edwina Roberts film. In pairs ask them to write a short engaging commentary to be read over the film from the perspective of one of the following:

  • News reporter
  • Fashion blogger or fashion magazine editor
  • Royal correspondent
  • Member of the public

Note - although the Royal Wedding newsreel is significantly longer, it contains some detailed intertitles which students could use as helpful pointers for the commentary or incorporate into their dialogue.


Some more ideas

  • How do students think the newsreels compare to the way royal weddings have been documented and presented in recent times?
Video Clips
The Royal Wedding (4:27)
Wedding of Lady Edwina Roberts (1:51)

Related Films and TV programmes

See also