In 1959, Britain’s biggest cinema company, the Rank Organisation, decided to replace its newsreels with a series of short, quirky, topical documentaries that examined all aspects of life in Britain. For the next ten years, Look at Life chronicled – on high-grade 35mm colour film – the changing face of British society, industry and culture. Britain on Film draws upon the 500 films in this unique archive to offer illuminating and often surprising insights into what became a pivotal decade.
This episode examines Britain’s ambiguous relationships with animals. Look at Life’s coverage – which ranges from the fur trade, fox hunting and animal-based entertainments in circuses to our passion for pets – shows just how far attitudes to other species have shifted since the 1960s.