You appear to be using a browser that is no longer supported. You may find that you are unable to use all features on the site. We recommend upgrading or changing your browser, if possible.
Skip to main content
Search... Open this section

I Remember, I Remember (clip 5)

John Grierson introduces a clip from the seminal documentary 'Night Mail'

  • Print All


A personal account John Grierson of a life spent in documentary film-making, including his early life in Stirling. This film which takes the form of a masterclass was screened at the 1968 Edinburgh Film Festival to mark John Grierson's 70th year and his importance to the development of the Scottish film and TV industry. In this clip Grierson talks about his collaboration with the poet W.H Auden and Benjamin Britten in making the seminal film 'Night Mail'. Go to clip 6 of this film.

Questions & Activities


  • Who was John Grierson? Why is he considered important in film history?
  • How many shots do you think there are in the 'mail bag' sequence? Watch the film with the pause button and count them. How many camera set-ups are there?


Media Studies/English: As a class brainstorm and discuss what the word 'documentary' means?

Media Studies/English: The film is about a real event - do any of the film techniques used surprise you?

Media Studies/English/Modern Studies: The film creates a very romantic image of receiving letters - in groups discuss advantages and disadvantages of letters, instant messages, emails and texts as ways to communicate.

Modern Studies: Find out about mail in modern Britain. How many letters are sent each day (is this consistent throughout the year). How would a letter get from your town to London?

English: Find the poem - in groups experiment with dramatic ways of presenting it.

English: Find other poems which were written to be read aloud (you could try '€˜Burns', 'Tam O-Shanter', Roger McGough, John Cooper Clarke, Benjamin Zephaniah)

Clip Details

Record Id 007-000-000-285-C
Resource Rights Holder Night Mail courtesy of Royal Mail Film Archive; John Grierson speaking - National Library of Scotland
Project Ref 2232
Date 1968
Genre Documentary, Tv Doc
School Subject Media Studies, Geography, Biology
Subject Matter Rivers and Coasts
Who Films of Scotland (sponsor), James Sutherland (director), John Grierson (writer), Scottish Television (production company)
Where Aberdeen, Edinburgh, London
Event Edinburgh Film Festival
Attributes Black and White, Colour, Sound
Clip Length 3:30
Film Length 53:08