For the past thirty five years, The British Entertainment History Project has been recording the stories of men and women working in the UK film, television, theatre, and radio industries to ensure that information on their lives and experiences is preserved for future generations. These interviews tell us about the challenges these people had to overcome, the skills they employed, and the enduring human relationships they forged as Britain developed into one of the world’s major centres of the film and television industries. Consisting of more than 800 recordings so far, it is one of the most extensive audio-visual archives of its kind in the world. For students, researchers, and members of the public alike, it offers a unique insight and a link to a time when we made some truly memorable films and groundbreaking television programmes. Our work continues today.
The History Project is run by a group of volunteers who give their time and energy to undertake the filming, the interviewing, the logging, the transcribing, and the management of the collection. We want to build and add new material to our existing archive. We are currently filming interviews with the men and women who work in today’s entertainment industry.
We are very proud what we have achieved, and encourage everyone to explore and enjoy the work we do: acquiring, archiving, and providing access to this unique national resource of cultural and social history.
We want to open up this rich historical legacy to as wide an audience as possible by harnessing the latest technology. Our main priority in the coming months is to develop easier and wider public access to our interviews. We believe we have an extremely important archive of worldwide interest. We are currently developing the potential of our website by starting to upload a selection of our interviews together with detailed transcripts so you can search for even more details about each interviewee. We are constantly exploring the exciting possibilities raised by the use of new technology and new applications to help us increase the effectiveness, relevance, and longevity of the History Project and its archive. But we need your help. There is more to do than ever.
We welcome and encourage a variety of projects in collaboration with partners who are are keen to leverage and disseminate the wealth of social, cultural and historical information in our archives for the benefit of new audiences.
- British Cinema and Television Veterans
- Brunel University London
- Cinema and Television History Research Institute (CATHI), De Montfort University
- De Montfort University
- IAMHIST colour project
- London University (Goldsmiths College and Birkbeck College)
- University of East Anglia (UEA)
- University of Greenwich
- University of Sussex - Connected Histories of the BBC Project
- Women's Work in British Film & Television, 1933-1989
In addition, we are currently looking at ways in which we can collaborate with the BBC Pensioners Association https://bbcpa.org.uk, especially by collecting the reminiscences of people who have worked at the Corporation.
We would like to thank the Cinema Museum for sourcing many of our photos.
How You Can Get Involved
Would you be interested in joining us to help develop this valuable collection? Do you have any of the following skills)?
- Researching and preparing oral history interviews with contributors
- Filming and recording interviews
- Digitising, scanning or converting interview documents and recordings
- Transcribing interviews
- Collecting data and images for interviewee profiles
- Archiving, records and library management
- Updating and managing database records
- Web design and development
- Server maintenance and support
- Managing social media
- Fundraising and grant applications
- Public relations and promotion
Find out more about the ways you can get involved by contacting our Secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org.