Recently I sat in a viewing theatre with half a dozen other researchers and watched a truly remarkable 1965 television documentary called Walk Down Any Street. Directed for Associated-Rediffusion by Charlie Squires, the film is a clear-eyed and sympathetic verité portrait of a working-class family in Bermondsey. There are just four extended sequences – a funeral, a 21st birthday party, a hospital birth and a christening – and each is dispassionately observed at considerable length with minimal music that is not from the world of the film and with no voice-over after an opening introduction. I had never heard of the film before, I can find nothing about it online, and I don’t believe there is any critical writing about it in any book or article (I should be delighted to be disabused of this). The film is astonishing, both as film-making and as social history, but just as astonishing is its almost total obscurity. Welcome to the terra incognita of television archives.
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