BFI and EVCOM Unveil Film To Support Nhs


The BFI and EVCOM (Event & Visual Communications Association) are delighted to unveil a new short film they have partnered on with UK film director Tim Langford to help raise urgent funds for the NHS Charities Together appeal. Visually interpreting the poignant lines of former children’s laureate (and author of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt) Michael Rosen’s poem, These Are the Hands, this powerful and important short film combines a selection from the rich heritage of film about healthcare and the NHS preserved by the BFI National Archive with new footage of NHS workers who are currently on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis.

The film has been made with the generous support of Michael Rosen’s family who have agreed for the use his famous poem, read by Iain Glen (Game of Thrones, Downtown Abbey) and directed by Tim Langford (BBC, Channel 4) which was originally penned as a love letter to the NHS in 2008. 

EVCOM and BFI are proud supporters of the NHS and share a commitment to film as the most powerful possible medium for raising awareness and funds for our health services at this vital time. These Are The Hands is being launched on BFI Player, alongside the free NHS on Film archive and new Spotlight on Key Workers film collections and will be acquired into the BFI National Archive. These Are The Hands will also be available to share through BFI and EVCOM social channels, tying in with the nationwide Clap for Carers at 8pm on Thursday 30 April. Bringing the metaphorical hands of Rosen’s poem and the physical hands of the nation together in support of the selfless work of NHS staff, carers and key workers across the UK.

Britain has the finest screen industries in the world – and film, used creatively, is the most powerful medium of mass communication of modern times. Ever since 1948, British filmmakers have been serving the NHS: promoting public health and sharing with the public the work of hospitals and health professionals, via committed and well-crafted filmmaking. That rich heritage of NHS film is permanently preserved in the BFI National Archive, in partnership with The National Archives.


The BFI has brought this material, and its curatorial expertise, to These Are the Hands. All the archive films used in the project are freely available to view in full as part of the NHS on Film collection on BFI Player. Many of EVCOM’s members make films for today’s NHS, using the most up-to-date digital filmmaking techniques and online delivery, but still deeply imbued with the public service ethos that has driven health filmmaking across the decades.  Everyone involved in the making of this film has waived any fees, giving of their time and expertise without charge.

Speaking about the film Claire Fennelow, Executive Director at EVCOM said, “EVCOM are absolutely delighted to be involved in this wonderful project to support the NHS Charities Together appeal.  The perfect synchronicity of Michael Rosen’s poem ‘These are the Hands’, the BFI’s archive footage of the NHS at work through the ages plus more recent film work directed and produced by EVCOM members, brought together by director Tim Langford has come together to form this short film. We hope that it drives donations to this fantastic cause and continues to raise awareness of the efforts of the many, many workers in the NHS.”

Patrick Russell, BFI National Archive Senior Curator of non-fiction adds, “This archive short beautifully underscores the precious bonds between our past and our present by interweaving the NHS archive preserved by the BFI with superb contemporary work made by EVCOM and selfies taken from NHS staff on the frontline now, to tell a narrative of the generations of an NHS that has always been there for us. This powerful and important film is the latest example of a rich and detailed history of the NHS on film and we are delighted to bring it in to the BFI National Archive.”

Ellie Orton, Chief Executive of NHS Charities Together, also said, “This is an incredibly powerful film that underlines just how vital the NHS is to our society. It also clearly shows just how important supporting the frontline staff and volunteers is at the moment and into the future. Our COVID-19 Appeal aims to do just that, and I’m sure this film will help to spread the message about why that’s so important.” 

Actor Iain Glen commented, “I’m so happy to be able to support the NHS in any way I can during this exceptionally difficult time. As always, everyone working there is selflessly meeting the challenge. They unite us as a country, and I give them my heartfelt thanks. Please support the NHS if you feel you can.”

These are the Hands by Michael Rosen© for the 60th anniversary of the NHS

  • These are the hands
  • That touch us first
  • Feel your head
  • Find the pulse
  • And make your bed.
  • These are the hands
  • That tap your back
  • Test the skin
  • Hold your arm
  • Wheel the bin
  • Change the bulb
  • Fix the drip
  • Pour the jug
  • Replace your hip.
  • These are the hands
  • That fill the bath
  • Mop the floor
  • Flick the switch
  • Soothe the sore
  • Burn the swabs
  • Give us a jab
  • Throw out sharps
  • Design the lab.
  • And these are the hands
  • That stop the leaks
  • Empty the pan
  • Wipe the pipes
  • Carry the can
  • Clamp the veins
  • Make the cast
  • Log the dose
  • And touch us last.
Adam is the co-founder and editor of Adam, a technology evangelist also organises Event Tech Live, Europe’s only show dedicated to event technology and the Event Technology Awards. Both events take place in November, London.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.