Running Time: 32 mins
Bonus Footage: 56 mins
Format: 1 Disc, DVD Universal
This half an hour long documentary made by ATV Today in 1969 explores the changing industry and landscape of the region through the eyes of its people.
90 year old Hannah Baker lives in a recently condemned 19th Century end-terrace in Tipton with its original open grate and no electricity. Mrs Baker remembers when she was a child the evenings would be lighter, the sky lit up beautifully by the furnaces. Herbert Davies and Gerald Billingham forge chains by hand at Cradley Heath and Quarry Bank from 4am til 10.30am each working day. Herbert scorns weaker men. While having a pint, chain making legend and prize dog owner Joe Mallen uses beer glasses to simulate the process of dog fighting and author and presenter Phil Drabble describes the brutal sport of cock fighting. A Bradley pub is packed with regulars singing 'Somebody Stole My Gal' to piano while the landlady serves up free pie and paes at Grey Paes Pudding Night.
Dr John Fletcher of the Black Country Society talks of how locals possess a strong sense that they belong to a small group, whether it be a street, a town or area; and Black Country poet Harry Harrison talks of the region's particular sense of humour.
With poetry, rhyme, songs and stills from the region entwined with Gwyn Richard's rich commentary, a host of colourful characters and powerful shots of the industrial landscape, this documentary provides a moving insight into the Black Country in the 1960s.
The DVD also includes: Jaywalking: On the Road to Nowhere. ATV Today presenter Sue Jay visits a faggot and pae supper evening at Lower Gornal Football Club in 1974, featuring traditional Black Country entertainers presented by Harry Harrison.
Plus a selection of short films from the ATV Today archives featuring the Black Country industry, traditions, entertainment and people:
ATV Today: 08/06/1972 Chain Forge
ATV Today: 16/10/1972 Jumping Joe Darby
ATV Today: 12/09/1972 Black Country Food
ATV Today: 01/05/1974 May Day Ponies
ATV Today: 16/09/1975 Chain Maker
ATV Today: 13/01/1976 Grorty Pudding
ATV Today: 01/03/1976 Dolly Allan, Black Country Comedienne
ATV Today: 04/12/1978 Washing Laundry
The Black Country 1969 DVD is a compilation of footage filmed by Associated Television (ATV) and is distributed on DVD by the Media Archive for Central England in association with ITV Studios Global Entertainment.
Customer Reviews (via Amazon)
"Bought for my 80 year old father who is a Black Countryman through and through - he thoroughly enjoyed it and was able to recognise most of the places shown and the more famous Black Country 'celebrities' and revel in the Black Country accents and nostalgia."
"This DVD is well worth the money. It brings back a lot of happy times. When i was a young child and used to visit my great nan and it is very true how the people lived and told the stories of how things used to be."