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Belief in the Future

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Belief in the Future

Gripping speech to railway staff by British Rail chief Peter Parker offers a 1970s view of the future.

Training film/TV programme 1976 14 mins

Overview

New chairman Peter Parker addresses British Rail staff - it may sound dull but it's intensely compelling. True, compared to the many gorgeously lush documentaries that British Transport Films made, this is no-frills un-cinematic stuff. But Parker is a truly gifted screen communicator: his frank, incisive intelligence, and his own belief in a future for rail, practically leap off the screen.

A kind of 'state of the nation' message to a huge (and far from untroubled) workforce, the film is such gripping viewing partly because it places us deep inside the world of mid-1970s British Rail, behind the scenes - beyond public view and unfiltered by external spin. Though Parker is speaking about a vanished world - its economy, technology and industrial relations all so unlike our own - an incredible amount of his analysis is resonant today.