This film is part of Free

Memoirs of a Pit Orchestra

War and a grinding economy take their toll on the spirit and soul of the Welsh in this haunting, poetic study

Drama-documentary 1981 39 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales


With dialogue and scenarios adapted from the work of poets such as Idris Davies and Harri Webb, archive material and roving musicians, Richard Watkins contemplates industrial south Wales, ravaged by capitalism's booms and busts. The Welsh – vital to the success of England's performance on a brightly-lit stage - accompany the main action unseen from the pit, loyal to a king and country that keep forsaking them.

Richard Watkins, the film-maker, was born (1948) and brought up in Swansea, his family having moved from farm to city after WWII. His other films include 'Milford Fishermen' and 'The Artist in Wales', both available on BFI Player. The words of several acclaimed Welsh poets is pivotal to this film, and the kind permission of the following estates, representatives and publishers was granted for the Unlocking Film Heritage project: Gomer Press and the estate of Idris Davies (Idris Davies); Seren Books (John Davies); Meic Stephens (Leslie Norris, Harri Webb).