Every Day Except Christmas

A clip from Lindsay Anderson's iconic documentary about the Market

By Anne Bransford

"Every Day Except Christmas is a rare opportunity to meet the characters and witness the sights and sounds at London's iconic Covent Garden market in a bygone era. This ground-breaking and award-winning documentary is widely regarded as the cornerstone of the Free Cinema movement and pioneered a style of film making which continues to influence modern documentary production to this day.

Made for the Ford Motor Company's Look at Britain series in 1957, Every Day Except Christmas was directed by Lindsay Anderson, who would go on to direct critically-acclaimed feature films including If and This Sporting Life. The observational style allows the viewer to become part of the journey as flowers, fruit and vegetables make their way to market, and watch as the stalls burst into life.

Every Day Except Christmas introduced an innovative style of film-making, showing the dignity and diligence of working class Britain in the 1950s through improvised, atmospheric footage of real people going about their business a style which modern reality TV owes much to. We see the produce making its way to London, meet the characters who prepare the stalls, experience the stillness of the twilight hours giving way to the hustle and bustle of the day, watch the buyers and sellers trade and truly share a unique taste of Covent Garden in 1957.

Narration comes courtesy of Alun Owen, the actor and renowned screenplay writer responsible for penning such hits as The Beatles 1964 film A Hard Days Night. His commentary delivers a poetic quality, perfect alongside the evocative soundtrack of Daniel Paris.

The excellence of Every Day Except Christmas was highly praised in its day earning rave reviews after its showing at the National Film Theatre and winning the Grand Prix at the Venice Film Festival and it remains an important piece of social history as well as a pioneering piece of film making." - Duke Media Group

This page was added by Anne Bransford on 15/11/2012.
Comments about this page

The 'old Alice' in Every Day Except Christmas is my grandmother. She died quite soon after the film was made and I don't have very many memories of her as I was only three. However, in 2008 I took my youngest children to see this film at the ICA and they loved it. 

By Charlie Fox
On 14/03/2017

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