I thought Britain in a Day took a shaky start. Viewers saw a night bus driver clearing out passengers and party goers filming a night out in an unknown British town centre. But after a dreary 20 minutes or so Britain in a Day started to pick up and became an emotional roller-coaster of love, loneliness, family and friends and ultimately captured the complexity of real life.

The documentary was composed of 300 video contributions. Some people or lives were only featured for a few seconds; people washing dishes, eating dinner, walking dogs. Others played a more central part of the documentary and formed a narrative; characters that viewers could be affected by, and I certainly was.

Britain In A Day

An ill father who had recently been diagnosed with a brain tumour and given only weeks to live had remained strong so that he could attend his daughter’s wedding, which was been held at the hospice chapel where he was been treated.  His story was one of the most moving in my opinion as although we were only given a glimpse into the family’s life it seemed so incredibly sad.

But their day of mixed emotions, happiness of marriage and sadness of such a terrible illness, was counteracted with the small joys of life; a couple announcing they were expecting a baby, a boyfriend proposing, a man enjoying a beautiful sunset, people meditating, sports fans enjoying sports and children playing in the garden.

father and daughter Britain in a Day

Maybe the most thought provoking person to be featured was the young man cycling along a canal who enjoyed his life in Britain because he felt ‘safe’ here. This was surprising having seen another man visiting an immigration detention centre, and another in prison and protestors camping outside St. Pauls Cathedral earlier in the documentary. The youngster’s positive reflection on life seems to prove that life really is what you make of it and reinforced that everyone featured in Britain in a Day is real. Their thoughts and feelings were their own and not manufactured by a producer or team of writers. 

Overall Britain in a Day is a touching, quirky and sometimes bizarre look at life in Britain which illustrates just how dynamic our country is. It’s wonderful to see how the foundations of life are the same but the finer details change according to individuals and incredible to think that so much footage has been so skilfully edited. Definitely worth watching- Britain in a Day is available to catch up on BBC iPlayer now.

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