Lessons from the Air

About the film

The BBC works to provide an enriching Schools broadcast that teaches children about other cultures.

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  • Release year - 1943
  • Directors - Harold Purcell, James Rogers
  • Screenplay - Harold Purcell
  • Cinematographer - James Rogers
  • Narration - Norman Shelley
  • Editor - Alfred Travers
  • Sound recording - Charles Tasto
  • Running time (minutes) - 13 mins 06 secs

Original description

School broadcasting

'This picture shows how school broadcasting enriches the curriculum and brings into a little village school a breath from the world outside. It gives an idea of the central organisation, showing how closely the designers of the broadcasts are in touch with schools.

There are many classroom scenes and shots of BBC Talks Studios.'

(Films of Britain - British Council Film Department Catalogue - 1944-45)

Did you know?

  • The song sung at the beginning is a popular folk song, 'Green Grow the Rushes O'.
  • The broadcasts at the beginning of the film are BBC School Radio, which half of all British schools were listening to by 1942.
  • The Chinese narrator shown near the beginning of the film says there are more than 400 million people living in China. Today (2019) that figure is over 1.38 billion - more than three times as many.
  • A number of noteworthy personalities appear in this film including Freda Lingstrom, Mary Somerville, Rhoda Power, Richard Livingstone and Freddie Grisewood.
  • The gutted cathedral seen briefly towards the end of the film was Coventry Cathedral, which was destroyed in November 1940.

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Learn about the history behind our documentary film archive from the 1940s.

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