Between 1962 and 1964, John Betjeman made twelve films about the West Country he loved so much. Byearly 1960's John Betjeman was at the peak of his powers, having just published his acclaimed autobiographical poem "Summoned By Bells". Yet within a few years all of these films appeared to have been lost without trace. But in October 1993, an HTV producer, Gerry Dawson came across an old poorly labelled film can. Curious, he opened it and found John Betjeman's classic film Weston-Super-Mare. Over the next few months he managed to unearth every Betjeman film, featuring the following towns:
Weston-Super-Mare (1963) "Gem of the Somerset Coast" - John Betjeman visits Weston and samples the delights of the boarding houses, beaches, lights and architecture.
Bath (1963) "Rome built in Somerset" - A fierce defence of the town against the ravages of speculators when Bath was threatened with wholesale redevelopment.
Malmesbury (1962) "A city set on a hill which cannot be hid" - Where John Betjeman found the perfect combination of both countryside and county towns that he loved.
Marlborough (1962) Perhaps the finest of John Betjeman's filmworks and represents the poet at this descriptive best.
Bristol My Home (1962) The full-length version of John Betjeman's tribute to his friend, the Music Hall star, Randolph Sutton.
Clevedon (1962) Betjeman was a poet of the people as well as places. The film was set in a winter cliff top hotel where retired gentlefolk came to spend the sunset of their days. This also includes documentation on the saving of Clevedon Pier. The search goes on...