Britain in a Day: it’s great to be human

Britain in a Day is a BBC project aiming to create a self-portrait of life in Britain in the 21st century. I’ve had the chance to work on it for one day archiving content back in June. It was a collaboration between the BBC and City University London, and a bunch of journalism students got together to moderate videos and to create a playlist at the end of the day.

Making the playlist turned out to be the most difficult part, because we all had at least two favourite videos we were trying to push forward but there was only room for ten. In the end, we put together a playlist centred around family life.

You can watch it on the Britain in a Day YouTube channel, in the Archive. At the moment it’s marked as playlist number 9.

Here’s what we wrote about it at the time:

We created our playlist to reflect a sense of family life and the solidarity, strength and hope it can bring. We hope our list shows an air of optimism in the diverse communities of London during these hard times.

Looking back on it now, we got one thing right: our playlist still makes me feel very optimistic about life, and shows how wondeful it is to be human.

We picked at least one video about celebrating birthdays, because birthdays are just another reminder that we’re alive and that is a wonderful thing.

There’s also a child sitting rather grumpy in a chair whilst everyone else around is joining in song to mark a family tradition. We may not all enjoy the same things, but we don’t have to be worlds apart.

A teenage girl made a video in memory of her grandmother, which was one of the most moving submissions I’ve seen. We don’t often stop and think about our family and how much they determine who we are as a person, and often we only realise it when it’s too late.

Another entry is a really short film of a man showing us his morning routine. He does Tai Chi in the park, and then goes to sit in the same place and take a photo of the same bench every day.

There’s love and weirdness in all of us, and this is what makes humanity wonderful. We may have a long way to go and a lot of things to accomplish, and obviously history shows we’re prone to horrible mistakes, but as long as we still have this inner beauty that I found in these Britain in a Day entries, I reckon we’ll be alright.

Let’s hear it from The Doctor:

“No, but that’s what you do, the human race. Making sense out of chaos. Marking it out with weddings and Christmas and calendars. The whole process is beautiful, but only if it’s being observed.”

Doctor Who season 3, The Runaway Bride

Image and videos belong to the BBC.