Britain On the Move

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Episode 8 of 20

Duration: 29 minutes

Melvyn Bragg, accompanied by a vintage mobile cinema, travels across the country, to show incredible footage preserved by the British Film Institute and other national and regional film archives, and tell the history of modern Britain.

This episode comes from the Haynes International Motor Museum in Somerset, and looks back to the 1960s when dreams of the open road became a reality for the first time for millions of people.

Joan Wright remembers the impact on her family when her father acquired his first car, and Joe Moran talks about being one of the thousands of men who travelled from Ireland to build Britain's motorways. And Anna Purkiss sees footage of her parents that evokes emotional memories of the time they were forced to make way for the motorway.

  • BFI Key Films For This Episode

    BFI Key Films For This Episode

    You can watch BFI films relating Britain On The Move by clicking the link below.

    BFI official web page for On the Move
  • My Father's Pride and Joy

    My Father's Pride and Joy

    Joan Wright joins us to talk about her father’s pride and joy, a black shiny Morris Minor.

    Joan’s dad Samuel Cooper (in his car in the picture) took the family everywhere in his new car thanks mainly to the new motorway network.

    Joan remembers that the family just went to Blackpool from Stoke-on-Trent for their holidays but now could travel as far as Devon quite easily.

    Joan also remembers that they were not allowed to eat in the car and had to get out to eat regardless of the weather because her father was so proud of the car!

    Morris Minor Owners Club
  • The Teenage Motorbike Lover

    The Teenage Motorbike Lover

    Liz Perks was a teenage motorbike rider and she loved the motorways. When she first started riding Tas as a 16-year-old in 1964 there were no crash helmets and not really any rules of the road to follow. She rode to motorway service stations which became popular hangouts for celebrities. As there were no speed limits, Liz says it was a fantastic time if a little scary!

  • Motorways Were Not Always Welcome

    Motorways Were Not Always Welcome

    Anna Purkess told us about the story of her parents Bet and Bert who stood up to the developers of the new motorways.

    Their house in Willand, Devon was going to be flattened as it was in the way of the new motorway route.

    Anna saw her parents being interviewed in a film we use which was made in 1971. She was very proud of her parents for standing up and making a protest.

    In the film Anna's mum Bet said that they were offering compensation for a house but not for a home.


Melvyn Bragg
Melvyn Bragg
Series Producer
Dympna Jackson
Series Producer
Dympna Jackson
Executive Producer
Ruth Pitt
Executive Producer
Ruth Pitt


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