Sandi Durnford- Slater, cultural theorist, film studies graduate and St Pauls member with a passion for cultural engagement has put together an amazing playlist of films, series and programmes. See what you think:

Viewing Resource May 2020

Download platforms:

  • BBC iPlayer – free if you’ve paid your TV licence.
  • Netflix – prices range from £5.99 / month to watch as much as you like on up to 2 devices.
  • Prime Video – films and TV available if you have Amazon Prime (£7.99 per month or £79 per year) and there is a 30 day free trial. Some things are free with Amazon Prime and some are still available as paid items on top of your Amazon Prime account cost.
  • Disney + I’m told is good for children, but I do not know the content or costs myself.
  • idfa.nlhas some free documentaries
  • ITV, My5 and other terrestrial streaming and rewatch services get their payment by advertising or for YTV you can pay to remove adverts
  • curiositystream.com– HD streaming for $11.99 / year

 Children and young family viewing:

  1. Malory Towers(BBC iPlayer) – based on the Enid Blyton series, BBC has loaded up the entire new series. The story follows tomboy Darrell and her friends at boarding school on a stately seaside mansion in England. It is beautifully filmed and clean viewing with a lovely focus on forgiveness, bullying, friendship and overcoming challenges. It’s an almost all girls cast, but great for all round family viewing.
  2. The BFG– (BBC iPlayer) – The story of a friendly giant and an orphan, based on the Roald Dahl classic novel. This is the older animated film more suitable for much younger viewers.

2b. The BFG (Netflix) – non animated version for the older children.

  1. Madagascar Escape from Africa: 2(BBC iPlayer) – Animated adventure about a group of NYC zoo animals on the run. Highly entertaining for the whole family. Themes of friendship, overcoming odds, humour, courage etc.
  2. The Boy who Harnessed the Wind– (Netflix) – a whole family film starring Chiwetel Ejiofor (Award-winning British actor renowned for ’12 Years a Slave’). The story follows a 13 year old William who when his family are facing famine because of doubt, builds a windmill. Heaps on family values and ‘never giving up’ ‘growth mindset’ themes.
  3. Anne with an E, series 1, 2 and 3– (Netflix) – Series based on the book series, Anne of Green Gables. Set in rural Canada ‘back in the day’, a story of an orphan and her trials and tribulations when she is taken into the home of middle aged brother and sister, Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert, to work and help on their farm. Classic story, beautifully filmed and full of good lessons for all.
  4. Wallace & Gromit, The Wrong Trousers(Netflix) – Wallace takes on a lodger – things go a bit pair shaped for his dog, Gromit when a penguin takes over his room. (only 29mins) Wallace & Gromit, A Grand Day Out (22 mins) is another option for the kiddies.
  5. Hook(Netflix) – the Peter Pan story starring the late Robin Williams as he is forced to rekindle his relationship with his wife and children by finding his inner child … he must also save his children and battle the evil Captain Hook.
  6. Shrek (Netflix) – our favourite green ogre meets the lovely Fiona + the Donkey. I’m sure I don’t need to explain! (All Shreks are available on Netflix)
  7. Free Willy(Netflix) – a boy’s friendship with a Killer Whale and his mission to risk everything to free the whale from an aquarium. Heartwarming.
  8. Matilda (Netflix) – Based on the book by Roald Dahl, young Matilda, a genius by any measure, does not fit in with her boorish, selfish family, but is taken under the wing of a kind teacher. She must fit into school, make friends, outsmart a wicked headmistress and expose her criminal father in order to find where she fits in life.
  9. Charlotte’s Web(Netflix) – feel good family viewing about the unlikely friendship between a pig and a spider called Charlotte. The two must pair up to outsmart the farmer who intends to fatten up his pig and send her to the slaughter.
  10. Annie (Netflix) – the original film of the orphan called Annie – for those who enjoy a lucky escape, the comeuppance of evil and a singalong.
  11. Rain Man(BBC iPlayer) Charlie (Tom Cruise) learns that his estranged father has died. He returns home to find that he also has an autistic older brother Raymond (Dustin Hoffman) and that his father has left his fortune to the care home where his Raymond lives. Motivated by money, he checks his brother out of the home and the two begin a journey together that changes their lives.

Mature viewing:

  1. Escape From Alcatraz (Clint Eastwood, 1979) – (BBC iPlayer) – This is one of the all time great escape films out there – a must watch!
  2. Manchester by the Sea(BBC iPlayer) – I’ve not see this one myself but it won many awards in 2017 – Best Actor, Best original Screenplay, Critics Choice etc. BBC iPlayer description: “A troubled man suddenly finds himself laden with responsibility following the sudden death of his older brother. Drinking heavily to repress painful memories, he is shocked to discover after the passing of his sibling that he has been named his teenage nephew’s legal guardian.”
  3. The Lady Vanishes(1938 film, Black & White – don’t be put off by this) – the original classic about a woman who vanishes on a London bound train.Some passengers claim she was never there, one passenger remembers her and tries to find out what happened to her. A great mystery film.
  4. Made in Dagenham(BBC iPlayer) – This is a great film of triumph over adversity. It’s about the fight of female factory workers at the Ford Dagenham plant for equal pay in 1968. Lots of home grown talent in this film.
  5. Twelve Monkeys (1995) (BBC iPlayer) – A time travelling thriller about a virus for those who like a bit of sci-fi and open to a bit of a mind-warping experience. WARNING – THIS IS NOT FOR EVERYONE – rated 15 for some very strong language and threat. However, it’s an ‘old’ classic and rather pertinent to the current viral crisis.
  6. Witness (1985) (BBC iPlayer) – Classic thriller set in the American Amish community. When a young Amish boy witnesses a murder the family are issued with police protection in the form of Harrison Ford. This is an acclaimed film, but WARNING THERE IS PERIL and SOME MILD NUDITY.
  7. The Kings Speech (Netflix) – British star-cast pic about how King George VI fought to overcome shyness and a stutter on order to take up the duty and service of his role as King.
  8. Lion (PG) (Netflix) – a young Indian boy is adopted by white Australian parents and much later on, sets to finding his birth mother and family who he last saw aged 5. Really uplifting film – keep the box of tissues nearby.
  9. The Two Popes(Netflix) – I’ve not watched this, but it comes highly recommended by many Christian friends (and my husband). Stunningly and subtly acted by Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce about Pope Benedict XVI and his friendship with the future Pope Francis.
  10. The Climb (‘L’ascension’ original title in French) (Netflix) – It’s in French with English subtitles, but don’t let that put you off. This is an entertaining, ‘Eddie-the-Eagle’, ‘working-class-boy’, ‘coming-of-age’ family film (so long as they are old enough to read). It’s about a young French immigrant (from Africa) from the French flats / working class suburbs, who, to prove his love for an old school friend, determines to climb Everest having only ever climbed up the steps to his dilapidated family apartment. It all heats up when a radio station hears of his quest, and so if he backs out he will now lose face on a grand scale.
  11. The African Doctor(Netflix) – Another French one with English subtitles about a family of French speaking African immigrants, who relocate to the countryside when the father, a newly qualified doctor is offered a job in a French village. Themes are ‘neighbours’, ‘accepting difference’, ‘settling into a foreign country’, ‘village life’, ‘family aspirations’, ‘family dynamics’ etc.
  12. Erin Brockovich(Netflix) – at the risk of recommending something everybody has seen, this is a classic re-watcher. Erin is a working class single mother who uncovers a conspiracy where a large company is pumping chemical waste into a town’s water supply. She works in a clerical role for a hard up lawyer and together they try to take on the big company in a major lawsuit. WARNING – some adult themes and swearing.
  13. Groundhog Day (Netflix) – this is a must-watch as news anchor, Phil (Bill Murray) reports on location in a small town in America and is forced to relive the same day over and over again until he gets it right. Much opportunity for family discussion after watching this unlikely, very flawed ‘hero’ learn some tough lessons in being a decent human being. Funny and deep!
  14. Sense and Sensibility(Netflix) – Classic Jane Austen starring Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant and Kate Winslet.


  1. The Blue Planet Series 1, 2(Netflix)
  2. Night on Earth Night on Earth, Shot in the Dark(the making of Night on Earth) (Netflix)
  3. Seven Worlds, One Planet (BBC iPlayer) – Attenborough narrated series of 7 episodes filmed on each of the 7 continents, brilliantly filmed nature show, each episode ends with a short documentary on how something was filmed.
  4. Life on EarthFrozen PlanetInsect Worldsetc (BBC iPlayer) – also Attenboroughs.