This film is part of Free

Face of Change

Britain's steel industry faces recession - and its human costs - at Ebbw Vale and elsewhere.

Documentary 1976 27 mins


"Solutions may not always be easy." This film from British Steel, produced three years into the nationalised corporation's Ten Year Development Strategy, is the work of a major industry responding to recession with contraction - at a human cost. Many places on the UK metals map are cited: Redcar, Hartlepool, Scunthorpe, and above all Ebbw Vale, a plant facing partial closure where much of the film is shot.

As the corporate communication of an industry in difficulty, this fascinating film has a tricky balancing act on its hands. It aims to be frank with its viewers, to acknowledge their scepticism and even hostility, but at the same time to give them hope by extolling measures in place to assist affected staff via employment counselling and re-training. With its low-key televisual production style, and downbeat images of huge cooling towers being demolished, The Face of Change feels unmistakeably autumnal. We're a world away from the romantic sweep and bombast of the big industrial documentaries of earlier decades (like for instance the 1963/1968 film Listen to Steel - also on BFI Player - made for the industry by the same production company, Interfilm).