History File

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History File was introduced in 1985 as the parent series for all BBC TV history series for secondary schools, except for A-level pupils who had Advanced Level Studies: History, and later The History Collection, instead.

Originally it was mainly used for repeats and new episodes of British Social History and Twentieth Century History, but by the early 1990s those earlier programmes were completely replaced by a range of new units - apart from one solitary episode of Twentieth Century History, Make Germany Pay originally broadcast in autumn 1977, which continued to be repeated until autumn 2011.

Several units of History File during the 1980s and 90s were multimedia productions, combining the TV programmes with complementary radio programmes from the series Radio History: 14-16, History Resources and Twentieth Century Soundbites.

Episodes

Here is a brief overview of all of the units of History File.

table-sheet.png You can also view and download a spreadsheet with complete list of all broadcasts, including repeats. Except it's not quite complete for the 1980s - if you can fill in any of the question marks, please get in touch by email or on the forum.

Twentieth Century History

Three 20-minute episodes for age 14-16.

These new episodes complemented repeated episodes from the series Twentieth Century History, so that there were 15 episodes in the Twentieth Century History unit regularly broadcast in History File.

Divided Ireland

Two 20-minute episodes for age 14-16.

British Social History

Five 20-minute episodes for age 14-16.

This new unit of programmes complemented but essentially replaced 8 episodes from the series British Social History, which were repeated in the early days of History File.

Medicine Through Time (1989)

Five 20-minute episodes for age 14-16.

This was re-edited into a new unit by the same title a decade later.

The Russian Revolution

Two 20-minute episodes for age 14-16.

This was a two-part repeat of a Timewatch documentary called Images of a Revolution, originally broadcast in the evening in October 1989.

The World Since 1945

History File The World Since 1945 title.jpg

Ten 20-minute episodes for age 14-16.

The Roman Empire

Five 20-minute episodes for age 11-14.

This was the first unit of History File for a lower secondary audience, as until now all programmes had been aimed at 14-16 year-olds. From 1992 to 1999 History File was generally scheduled twice a week, with programmes on Mondays aimed at upper secondary pupils, and different programmes on Tuesdays or Thursdays aimed at lower secondary pupils.

Britain 1750-1900: Expansion, Trade and Industry

History File Britain 1750-1900 1993 title.jpg

Five 20-minute episodes for age 11-14.

This was replaced by a new unit on Britain 1750-1900 in 2000.

The Era of the Second World War

Five 20-minute episodes for age 11-14.

North American Indians

Two 20-minute episodes for age 11-14.

This was an edited repeat of a Timewatch documentary called Savagery and the American Indian, originally broadcast in the evening in January 1991.

The Making of the United Kingdom

Five 20-minute episodes for age 11-14.

Covering Britain from 1500 to 1750, and replaced by a new unit called Britain 1500-1750 in 2000.

Medieval Realms

History File Medieval Realms title.jpg

Five 20-minute episodes for age 11-14.

Covering Britain from 1066 to 1500.

Twentieth Century Wrap

History File 20th Century Wrap title.jpg

Five 25-minute episodes for age 14-16.

The First World War

History File The First World War title.jpg

Five 20-minute episodes for age 11-14.

Black Peoples of the Americas

History File Black Peoples of the Americas title.jpg

Five 20-minute episodes for age 11-14.

Nazi Germany

History File Nazi Germany menu.jpg

Five 25-minute episodes for age 14-17.

Medicine Through Time (1998)

Five 25-minute episodes for age 14-16.

Re-edited from the original 1989 unit called Medicine Through Time.

The Soviets

History File The Soviets menu.jpg

Five 25-minute episodes for age 14-16.

Twentieth Century World

Five 20-minute episodes for age 11-13.

Britain 1750-1900

History File Britain 1750-1900 2000 title.jpg

Five 20-minute episodes for age 13-14.

Replaced the earlier unit on Britain 1750-1900: Expansion, Trade and Industry.

This was the first new unit broadcast after all BBC TV programmes for secondary schools were moved to overnight transmissions in autumn 1999. This and all subsequent units have only been broadcast in compilation programmes, 1 or 2 hours long, during the early hours of the morning.

The Cold War

History File The Cold War menu.jpg

Five 25-minute episodes for age 14-16.

Britain 1500-1750

History File Britain 1500-1750 2000 title.jpg

Four 15-minute episodes for age 11-14.

Replaced the earlier unit The Making of the United Kingdom, which covered the same time period.

American Voices: A History of America 1917-1941

Five 25-minute episodes for age 14-16.

Britain 1906-1918: A History in Photographs

History File Britain 1906-1918 title.jpg

One 60-minute episode for age 11-14.

Seven Journeys in the American West

One 60-minute episode for age 14-16.


More Programmes

Some random programmes for age 13-16 from the 1990s

Vandals(from Scene)
BBC Schools TV
1990
Citizenship
Standard Grade History (radio)
BBC Schools Radio
1988-1998
History
Media Skills
ITV Schools
1990-1992
English
Trafford Tanzi(from Scene)
BBC Schools TV
1993-1998
Citizenship
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  • The part "]]" of the query was not understood. Results might not be as expected.