Addressing the Nation

Shorts from The GPO Film Unit, whose output spanned public information films, drama-documentary, social reportage and advertising.

“It was something altogether new to be looking at ordinary things as if they were extraordinary…” John Grierson.

Created 75 years ago out of the ashes of the Empire Marketing Board Film Unit, the GPO Film Unit was one of the most remarkable creative institutions that Britain has produced. A hotbed of creative energy and talent, it provided a springboard to many of the best-known and critically acclaimed figures in the British Documentary Movement.

John Grierson, Alberto Cavalcanti, Humphrey Jennings, Basil Wright, Harry Watt, Edgar Anstey and Arthur Elton, alongside innovators and experimentalists such as Len Lye and Norman McLaren are some of the directors whose work embraced public information films, drama-documentary, social reportage, animation and advertising.

The BFI National Archive, in partnership with The British Postal Museum & Archive (BPMA), Royal Mail and BT Heritage, has curated and restored this legendary output of short films.

This, the first of three volumes, provides a fascinating exploration of the unit’s early experimentation with sound, and features the award winning Song of Ceylon and other neglected works many of which will be available for the first time since their original release.

Disc one

  • The Coming of the Dial (1933).
  • Cable Ship (1933).
  • Granton Trawler (1934).
  • John Atkins Saves Up (1934).
  • Air Post (1934).
  • The Glorious Sixth of June (1934).
  • Pett and Pott (1934).
  • 6.30 Collection (1934).
  • Weather Forecast.

Disc two

  • Song of Ceylon (1934).
  • A Colour Box (1935).
  • Coal Face (1935).
  • The King’s Stamp (1935).
  • BBC The Voice of Britain (1935).
  • Sixpenny Telegram (1935).

Special features

  • On the Fishing Banks of Skye (John Grierson, 1935).
  • GPO Film Display trailer.
  • 80-page book containing introductory essays, biographies and film notes.
  • Dolby Digital mono audio (320 kbps).

Product information

    • Certificate


    • Colour

      Colour and Black/white

    • Sound


    • Running time


    • Subtitles

      English for the hard-of-hearing

    • Original aspect ratio


    • DVD region

      • 2 Europe (except Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus), Middle East, Egypt, Japan, South Africa, Swaziland, Lesotho, Greenland, French Overseas departments and territories

    • Blu-ray region

      • B - Includes most European and Middle-Eastern countries, all of Africa, Australia and New Zealand

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