Home Learning Films to Stream on BBC iPlayer and All4

04 Jan 2021 in Film Features

4 mins
The Secret of Kells
The Secret of Kells

With further lockdowns and school closures announced across all four UK nations at the start of January, we will continue to update our list of key titles which are available to watch on BBC iPlayer and All4 on a daily basis. Each title has associated learning materials attached, in the form of film guides, blogs, interviews and resources for further study.

These films are available to access for anyone learning from home, provided they have a TV licence. If you are an educator showing these films in a school or classroom, your school will also require a TV licence.  Into Film Club leaders can also order these films on DVD in the usual way. Parents or home learners seeking to access downloadable resources will need to sign up for a free account first - don't worry, it only takes a moment.

This list will be checked and updated on a daily basis with appropriate new titles added regularly throughout January and beyond, for as long as the national uncertainty remains, so do bookmark this page and check back for any changes. The films below are listed by which expires first - so if a film is at the top of the list, that means you don't have long to watch it!

North by Northwest

BBC iPlayer - Available until 5pm, Friday 29 January

Alfred Hitchcock's spy thriller is a great introduction to The Master of Suspense and his filmography, with superb set-pieces (including the much-referenced crop duster sequence), numerous twists and turns, and a typically charismatic performance from its lead, Cary Grant.

Mary and the Witch's Flower

All4 - Available until Saturday 30 January

Based on children's book ‘The Little Broomstick', this anime is the first film from Studio Ponoc. It follows the adventures of a curious red-haired girl who discovers a magical school full of wonder that seems too good to be true. Taking in themes of anti-bullying, friendship, and growing up, this is a gentle story suitable for the youngest of film fans.

Note: Originally in Japanese, All4 have the dubbed English language version.

The Fits

BBC iPlayer - Available until Sunday 31 January

This strange but captivating film from the US follows an 11-year-old boxer who becomes fascinated with a dance troupe at her gym who call themselves ‘the Lionesses'. Intriguing and with some stunning performances, The Fits explores alternative forms of femininity through dance and sport.

The Secret of Kells

BBC iPlayer - Available until Sunday 31 January

Nominated for an Oscar® on release, this gorgeously hand-drawn film from Ireland is full of enchanting scenes as well as concerning itself with fascinating historical mythology. An adventure about a boy who stumbles upon a magical book who must then evade the encroaching Viking armies has never looked so unique and bewitching.

Note: There is also a Welsh language version available on BBC iPlayer here. This version expires on Saturday 23 January.

The Big Short

BBC iPlayer - Available until Sunday 7 February

Who would have thought that a black comedy about the financial crisis and the economic sector would prove to be such a big hit? This satirical work won the Academy Award for Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay) in 2016 for its sharp script, with strong performances across its ensemble cast. The Big Short explores the inner workings of trading and stocks in an accessible manner for students interested in the business of big business.


BBC iPlayer - Available until Sunday 14 February

Based on the shocking true story, Foxcatcher is the chilling portrayal of a dream gone wrong. When eccentric multi-millionaire John Du Pont invites champion wrestler Mark Schultz to his estate in order to prepare a team at his state-of-the-art training facility capable of challenging at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, Mark jumps at the opportunity. But the relationship between the two men slowly becomes strained and manipulative, with dire consequences.


BBC iPlayer - Available until Saturday 20 February

This Academy Award® nominated title for Best Foreign Language Film tells the story of a cattle herder and his family who find their lives disrupted, forced to live under strict laws which threaten their freedom, after their community is captured by Islamist militants.

The Eagle Huntress

BBC iPlayer - Available until August

An evergreen Into Film favourite which has wowed audiences at Into Film Clubs and Festival screenings alike, The Eagle Huntress is an eye-opening documentary that can introduce younger students to a whole new culture. It also allows viewers to explore concepts such as gender equality from a young age, and to question what they want to do with their own lives. 

Note: Presented on BBC iPlayer as part of their Storyville strand of documentary films.

One Man and His Shoes

BBC iPlayer - Available until October

A recent hit at the predominantly online London Film Festival, One Man and His Shoes is quite simply an ideal documentary for secondary students interested in sport, business and/or the media. Not only does it tackle a fascinating topic that will no doubt appeal to these audiences, but is presented in a way that is stylish, accessible and entirely attuned to youth culture.

I Am Greta

BBC iPlayer - Available until 2022

Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg has experienced an extraordinary rise to prominence in a short period of time after boycotting her education to get her message out to the masses. This intimate and personal documentary - only very recently released in cinemas - charts her ascension into the mainstream, as well as uncovering more about the person behind the crusade.

The Gruffalo

BBC iPlayer - Available until 2022

We don't make the rules, but we're pretty sure at least one of the screen adaptations of Julia Donaldson's much-loved children's books should be a festive essential. Donaldson's stories have been adapted frequently in recent years, but it was her initial big hit, The Gruffalo, which first received the screen treatment back in 2009. With an all-star British voice cast including Helena Bonham Carter, James Corden, John Hurt and Robbie Coltrane (as The Gruffalo), this is a lovely introduction to the author's stories.

Room on the Broom

BBC iPlayer - Available until 2022

The Gruffalo was written in 1999, with Room on the Broom following just a year later. This one made its way to the screen in 2012 and features the voice talents of Simon Pegg, Timothy Spall, Sally Hawkins, David Walliams and more, as a ragtag group of animals come together to fight off a dragon so that they can all ride on the witch's broom in safety.

Stick Man

BBC iPlayer - Available until 2022

The most recent of our three recommended Julia Donaldson adaptations was filmed in 2015, and even has a festive theme, following as it does the adventures of the title character as he attempts to navigate the dangers of his winter environment and make it home in time for Christmas. Martin Freeman voices Stick Man and is joined by the likes of Hugh Bonneville, Russell Tovey, Jennifer Saunders and Rob Brydon (who appears in all three of these stories). 

Suggestion: Each of these Donaldson adaptations are short films that clock in at just under 30 minutes each, so why not watch them back-to-back in a feature length triple bill?

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