The British Empire in Colour
Producers: Lucy Carter and Stewart Binns
BBC Television - 2002
Watch this breathtaking video to see India in colour:
DVD Review: The British Empire in Colour
By Lou Novacheck
The British Empire In Color was originally broadcast as a three-part BBC television miniseries covering roughly the past 200 years in British world history. It is essentially a vivid recapitulation of these years, showing the glories as well as the ignominies of British rule. It shows the nation’s successes and failures with equal candor.
Most, if not all, of the footage shown was drawn from recently discovered film, all in original color, quite rare in the early days of filmmaking. The series begins in detail during the reign of King Edward VII, in the early 1900s, covering the circumstances which drew England into World War One, then shows the festivities celebrating the end of the war, along with a parade in Paris.
As books and movies have noted, India was the “Jewel in the Crown” of the British Empire, and a good part of the series covered this area of the world in greater detail, emphasizing how 100,000 British ruled over 300 million Indians. It showed the lifestyle of the aristocracy, including the tiger hunts, the parties, and how the officers and civilians in the occupying forces, as well as visiting dignitaries, were catered to in their every whim, including being carried in howdahs on the shoulders of human bearers.