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An analysis of how the appalling social conditions of 1940s England influenced J.B Priestley's 'An Inspector Calls'. The narrator discusses the lack of access to education and poor sanitation of the time. Such conditions are magnified when extracts of the play are featured and we become increasingly aware of the pomposity of the Birling family. We focus on the characters of Sheila and Eric Birling and see extracts from a stage performance of the play. Interviews with the characters explore their contributions towards Eva's death and their redeeming features. The relevance of the play today and its idealistic nature are examined.
This clip is from:
First broadcast:
16 January 2008

Classroom Ideas

Can be used to explore the relevance of the play to a 21st century audience. Students are split into groups of four. In each group, one pair focuses on the archive footage in the clip of the social conditions in Britain in the past; the other pair focuses on looking closely at the theatrical production featured in the clip. Students can make notes on the clip, relevant to their area of study and then brief each other on their findings. Now students carry out a small discussion in their groups. This is timed by the teacher and lasts for approximately eight minutes. For the first half, students must argue the case that the images in the film are long forgotten cases of poverty that we would never see today, and that the play has very little relevance because the characters are ridiculous stereotypes of class and human nature in general. In the second half of the timed discussion, students must argue the inverse of this. Which argument do students feel is the most convincing? Do students think that the play is still relevant and worth seeing today?