Cricket On Film: Michael Atherton visits British Film Institute

The British Film Institute’s cricket collection offers a fascinating insight into the game and social history through the ages.

Michael Atherton went along to the BFI to find out more about cricket on film and discovered a rich and unique range of home movies, news reels, archive footage and more from the 1890s to 1990s.

Click on the video above to see Atherton browse through the archive and chat to senior curator, Steve Bryant about an amazing collection.

Over 100 cricket films are available for the public to view for free on the BFI Player – available at Simply go to the website, click on the BFI Player, then click on collections and cricket.

Cricket on Film is part of a wider initiative from the BFI called ‘Britain on Film’, which aims to make some 10,000 films available – the majority of them free to watch.

The earliest footage is of Prince Ranjitsinhji batting in the nets in 1897, just two years after the moving image was invented – and it’s possibly the earliest moving footage of cricket.

The collection also includes

1901 – a county match at Old Trafford complete with steam trains going by

1901 – Arthur Mold Bowling to AN Hornby

1902 – Great Local Derby, Accrington v Church Cricket match

1924 – Cricket Notes, an early animation filler

1940 – Bombing BFD (Bradford) Cricket; first-class cricket stopped during the war but local games continued

1954 – Alex Bedser Cricket Home Moves MCC Tour of Australia, in colour – one of England’s greatest ever teams

1965 – Cricket On Test

1971 – Bumble trying out a prototype helmet – a lacrosse helmet with a visor

1983 – Batting the Forward Strokes, starring David Gower