A History of Women in British Film and Television

Photograph from Broken Journey (1948)

This new study of the history of women who worked in the British film and television industries is exploring the contribution women made in the years from 1933 to 1989. It is drawing on archive sources held by the union (BECTU) and first-hand accounts from women themselves. The project's lead researcher, Dr Melanie Bell, explains: 'While a minority of women worked 'above-the-line' as directors and producers, thousands were employed 'below-the-line' as hairdressers, continuity 'girls', production secretaries/assistants, negative cutters, editors, wardrobe assistants, make-up artists, researchers, librarians and more. Yet the contributions of women in these roles barely feature in existing historical accounts. This project is exciting because it will finally provide us with a fuller picture of women's contribution to the film and television industries.'

The still is from Broken Journey (1948) giving valuable insight into the gender make-up of film crews at the time. Shirley Finn is pictured second row, dead centre.  She worked as continuity on a number of feature films produced by the British film industry in the late 40s.  We gratefully acknowledge the family of the late Shirley Kleiman (nee Finn) for their permission to use this image.

More about the project and how you can contribute