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Directed by Edward Mirzoeff
Produced in 1973
Main Language - English
Countries & Regions - British Film
John Betjeman's celebrated appraisal of the idiosyncracies of the outer reaches of the Metropolitan Line is as endearingly eccentric as Betjeman himself, writes Graeme Hobbs.
‘This is a good parcel of English soil in which to build home and strike root, inhabited from old, as witness the lines of camps on the hill tops and confused mounds amongst the woods, the great dyke which crossed it east and west, the British trackways … the new settlement of Metro-land proceeds apace, the new colonists thrive amain.’ Thus the Metropolitan Railway promoted ‘Metro-land’ – the term coined by its publicity department for the outer reaches of its lines to the north-west of London – in the late 1920s, and here, in a celebrated film made for the BBC in 1972, ‘poet and hack’ John Betjeman delves into the spirit of the place.
Betjeman often referenced the area in his poetry (‘Harrow-on-the-Hill’, ‘Middlesex’, ‘The Metropolitan Railway’), and here pays reflective tribute to the ‘mild home county acres,’ appraising both the oddities and the normality of the place.
When first shown, Metro-Land was pronounced an ‘instant classic’, with Clive James predicting it would still be shown come the Millenium. It still is being shown and rightly so; it’s as endearingly eccentric as Betjeman himself.
A celebrated, colourful eulogy by Sir John Betjeman to the people and places of Metro-Land - the term coined for the area to the north-west of London that grew up in the early 20th century around the Metropolitan Railway (later the Metropolitan Line of the Underground).
Publisher: Simply Media
Length: 60 mins
Aspect ratio: 4:3
Format: DVD Colour
Released: 24th July 2006
Cat No: 123284
- The Metropolitan Line In The News
- Including footage showing the Metropolitan Line extension to Stanmore (1932), the 1946 crash at Northwood, the Metropolitan Line Centenary Parade at Neasden (1963), the last working steam train on the line (1971), the 1999 and 2000 Steam on the Met events and the centenary of the Uxbridge branch (2004)
- 24-page illustrated booklet written by the programme's producer, Edward Mirzoeff
- Digitally remastered.