Bradford’s National Media Museum is the venue for the latest British Film Institute Mediatheque, providing free access to over 2500 films. To view any of the titles in the collection, you just have to turn up, and then
- Obtain a login number from the Museum staff;
- Login at a personal viewing station; then
- choose what you want to watch.
Of particular interest to Yorkshire visitors will be God’s Own County: Yorkshire on Screen, a specially curated collection of material relating to the Yorkshire and Humber area, featuring one hundred film and television programmes drawn from both the BFI National Archive collections and the holdings of the Yorkshire Film Archive.
Highlights include a filmic journey through Victorian Bradford in 1896; a turn-of-the-century Punch and Judy show in Halifax; Edwardian egg harvesters on Flamborough Head; Hull’s pioneering aviator Amy Johnson, caught on her own home movies; The Secret Diary of Miss Anne Lister (2010); the pilot episode of Last of the Summer Wine (1973); and Alan Bennett’s wry Portrait or Bust.
Yorkshire-based feature films available at the click of a mouse include The Night Has Eyes (a 1942 horror featuring James Mason and Wilfred Lawson), the politically-charged Brassed Off (1996) and the classic Billy Liar (1963).
There’s a special music section, including a teenage Jimmy Page’s appearance on a 1958 TV talent show, a 1976 interview with the Sex Pistols, the Stranglers in a 1978 student gig, a 1979 look at punk rock in Northern Ireland, Kate Bush in a 1978 Top of the Pops TV show, and Don McLean and Lonnie Donegan at the 1980 Cambridge folk festival. There’s even a rare 1934 Alfred Hitchcock musical, Waltzes from Vienna.
BFI Mediatheques are already open in Glasgow, London, Derby, Cambridge, Newcastle upon Tyne and Wrexham. At present there are no plans for online access to the collections from your homes.
A complete list of all films in the collection can be viewed at http://www.bfi.org.uk/archive-collections/introduction-bfi-collections/bfi-mediatheques/all-mediatheque-films