A modern history of British cinema.

Reel Britannia is a bold, ambitious and visually striking documentary project which tells the colourful and far-reaching story of Modern British cinema in all of its vibrancy.

Decade by decade from 1960, it shows how cinema held a broken mirror up to society to reflect on the youth revolution of the 1960s, the grit of the 1970s, the social divide of the 1980s, the new hope of the 1990s and the social disillusionment of the 00s.

The series also focuses on the outsiders and influencers whose work reflected what was actually happening in the regional and subcultural recess of the British psyche. Another area Reel Britannia explores is the less-told stories from the producers, production companies and studio boardrooms which shaped our national filmic identity.

Reel Britannia is a patchwork of brand-new exclusive interviews, archival interviews and behind-the-scenes footage. The story is told using a free-flowing mixture of contemporary and historical material, which explains not just the work itself, but the influence it went on to have in subsequent decades of filmmaking.

With brand new interviews from, Terry Gilliam, Stephen Frears, Hanif Kureishi, Mike Newell, Ken Loach, Simon Beaufoy, David Leland, Mike Leigh, Terence Davies, David Puttnam, Steve Woolley, Sally Potter, Gurinder Chadha & Gurinder Chadha.


The Sixties: British cinema is forever changed by Social Realism, Swinging London and American money. But how long can the party last?


The Seventies: Every taboo must be broken and British cinema is awash with sex, violence, religion, class and race.


The Eighties: The rise of several British production companies means a huge increase in quality and output for British cinema but the rise of Margaret Thatcher also takes effect. 


1990 - 2010: One big production company becomes the last one standing and their highly successful formulas change British film forever. 

"Elegantly written, eclectic and irreverent." VODZILLA
“Fresh and far-reaching, Reel Britannia is a tale of both a cinema and a country, told in a manner that is engagingly free-associative without ever feeling arbitrary or purposeless." VODZILLA
"Plenty of nostalgic love, archive rich clips and revealing interviews." DAILY DISPATCH
"Jon Spira has written and directed numerous documentaries about the British film industry and there is a very good reason for that. He knows how to get the balance right between populist and educational." THE SUNDAY TIMES
"Intelligent... Jon Spira has effectively delivered a long form TV essay." WAITROSE WEEKEND
"Terrific... a reel treat." WAITROSE WEEKEND
"Engaging, striking a balance between information, spectacle and analysis which other film makers sometimes get wrong." YAHOO MOVIES
“Very watchable… welcoming… absolutely terrific in terms of the way in which the clips are used to construct an argument.” KERMODE & MAYO PODCAST
“Very deft use of clips… not only does it find a path through these decades but makes sure certain films that have been lost are rediscovered.” KERMODE & MAYO PODCAST
"Cineastes should get themselves a Britbox subscription pronto to enjoy this marvellous in depth exploration of modern British cinema." THE TIMES
"Hugely entertaining... for film buffs, this is top rank." DAILY MAIL
"Mandatory viewing." YAHOO MOVIES
"The credit Spira gives to writers, editors and producers feels very welcome in a medium where directors and actors tend to steal the limelight." TELEGRAPH
"Offers a cinematic window into the era, but also incorporates social issues that tied into the subject matter being explored." YAHOO MOVIES
"Essential viewing... exmplars of the British film movement are all afforded an opportunity to educate and enlighten audiences looking to broaden their knowledge." YAHOO MOVIES
"Does a great job... will make you want to see or revisit a diverse wealth of classics and hidden gems. Recommended!" EDGAR WRIGHT
"Gathers an estimable collection of talking heads." TELEGRAPH
"A vital reminder of the power of British cinema." YAHOO MOVIES
"An unexpected delight." TELEGRAPH
"Well informed... embraces an eclectic selection of undisputed classics." TELEGRAPH


3 x one hour & 1 x 80-minutes








Hank Starrs


Jon Spira


Terry Gilliam, Stephen Frears, Hanif Kureishi, Mike Newell, Ken Loach, Simon Beaufoy, David Leland, Mike Leigh, Terence Davies, David Puttnam, Steve Woolley, Sally Potter, Gurinder Chadha

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