BBC Treasures
July 14, 2021 7:01 AM   Subscribe

My most recent post was the Ashenden adaptation the BBC did a while ago. What other BBC treasures are currently available on YouTube?

I know about the M R James ghost story adaptations; I almost posted them a few days ago only to find they have been posted before.

I am purposely leaving this question open-ended; it can be an adaptation, a nonfiction program, whatever. If you think it's fantastic and it's available on YouTube, tell me about it!
posted by wittgenstein to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (6 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I recently watched Iran and the West (3 parts) and The Gulf War documentaries, both of which were excellent. There's usually plenty of Adam Curtis documentaries - e.g. Hypernormalisation - floating around.
posted by my log does not judge at 7:15 AM on July 14, 2021

Best answer: If you liked the BBC's Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, you can see Alex Guinness reprise the role of George Smiley in Smiley's People, which wraps up the Karla story arc.
posted by jquinby at 7:57 AM on July 14, 2021

Best answer: There are some great documentaries, such as:

Reformation: Europe's Holy War
Addicted: America's Opioid Crisis
Congo: A journey to the heart of Africa
Andrew Marr's The Making of Modern Britain

But if you watch nothing else from the BBC, watch this:

Planet Earth Season 2
posted by underclocked at 10:33 AM on July 14, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: War and Peace?
posted by my log does not judge at 12:05 PM on July 14, 2021

Best answer: I’m on my phone so it’s a bit much to drop links. But, honestly, I’ve been dining out for YEARS, as in almost a DECADE, just by typing “bbc documentary” into YouTube search. Sometimes I’ll add a keyword like “history” or “science.”

It has gotten spammier over the years, but it’s really easy to suss out and skip the junk.
posted by functionequalsform at 2:39 PM on July 14, 2021

Best answer: Some marvellous documentaries about London in the 1980s:

Just Another Day: Selfridges (1983). (Directed by Adam Curtis; one of his very earliest works.)
Just Another Day: Waterloo Station (1983).
Just Another Day: Traffic Wardens (1984).
Just Another Day: The Natural History Museum (1985).
Just Another Day: Soho (1985). (One of the best of the series; featuring a brief glimpse of Jeffrey Bernard at 22:40.)

More Soho: Arena: A Day in the Life of Jeffrey Bernard (1987). Written and narrated by Bernard; cameo appearance by Francis Bacon at 21:17 ('I'm not one of those made-up poofs').

Classic documentary by Jonathan Gili: To the World's End: Scenes and Characters on a London Bus Route (1985). The copy on YouTube has a few bits missing at the beginning; there's a more complete version on the BBC iPlayer. (You can read more about Gili here: Jonathan Gili: curiosities from the filing cabinet of a BBC documentarist.)

And that's just the beginning: type 'BBC Arena' or 'BBC 40 Minutes' into YouTube and you can find so much more ..
posted by verstegan at 3:28 PM on July 14, 2021 [2 favorites]

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