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Holiday (1957)

Holiday is a vibrant observation of holiday-makers in post-war Britain. In a series of vivid, colourful sequences, the film evokes the fun-filled atmosphere created by the sense of freedom from the everyday routine of work. The cinema vérite style was achieved by a hidden camera, which explains why people look so at ease. Accompanied by the expressive and lively rhythm of traditional jazz performed by Chris Barber and his band, the sequences show the thrills on offer in 1950s Blackpool.

Classroom Activities

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  • Does this look like it might be fun?

  • Do you recognise any of the places or activities?

  • How many different activities from the film can you name?


  • Use freeze frame to stop the film at the point where the fairground colours and images are full screen, and then again where there is a mass of people walking down the road and/or pier. Discuss what can be seen in the shots and what it tells us about the time and the setting of the film. Does is tell us anything about the nature of holidays at this time?

  • After watching the film, choose two images that represent or sum up the meaning of the film.

  • Listen to the sounds of the film with the screen covered. Ask pupils to note what information is given by the soundtrack alone. How quickly do they understand that this is a film about holidays? Extend this to a discussion of how sound carries meaning in moving image texts and can create atmosphere and mood (you might screen this film alongside another, for instance, for comparison).


  • Discuss the differences between modern holidays and the type of holiday represented in the film.

  • Discuss pupils’ own experiences of going on holiday – favourite destinations, fun activities.

  • What would a film like Holiday, shot today, look like? Find images from magazines, brochures and the internet.


  • Create a holiday brochure that persuades people to book this as a family holiday. Use facts and details but also personal accounts and testimonials from imagined characters in the film.

  • Use Publisher or a similar program to design the brochure.

  • Write a letter to a friend telling them about your holiday.

  • Send a postcard home. Make it as descriptive and exciting as possible, remembering you have very few words to create the best possible impression.

  • Research Blackpool as a holiday destination in the 21st Century and compare it with the images and information in the film.

  • History: use the library and internet to research the history of leisure and growth of the working-class holiday. Compile an illustrated report.

  • Citizenship/geography: Compile a report on the effect globalisation and modern travel has had on the British holiday industry?

Clip Details

Record Id 007-002-000-087-C
Resource Rights Holder BFI
Project Ref RLS-10
Year of Production 1957
Genre Documentary
Curriculum Areas Expressive Arts, Health and Wellbeing, Literacy and English, Social studies
Who Ian Ferguson (Producer), John Taylor (Director)
Country of Origin UK
Medium / Content Live Action, Non-Fiction, Colour, Sound
Themes Fashion, Family, Entertainment, Culture, History, Gender
Clip Length 18:00