Smile! The Nation's Family Album

Smile! The Nation's Family Album


“Makes you think all the world’s a sunny day,” sang Paul Simon in Kodachrome. It’s a line that bottles some of the appeal of both the family snapshot and this lovely and evocative programme.

It charts the importance and changing nature of family photos, from the era of prohibitive Victorian portraits to today’s cost-free digitals – see a time-lapse film of Cory, whose picture was taken every day for 21 years (watch it at

But it’s not all about births and birthdays, weddings and holidays. Photo fanatic Joanne talks of her sick relative returning from hospital to see out his life in the comfort of his own home: “We don’t just need to remember the days when everything was perfect.”

Hats off to the researchers for poring over countless prints and stories to bring us a film that captures the warmth and quiet heroism of non-celebrity lives.


A revealing portrait that documents the changes in digital technology and how we capture images in the modern day, looking back across generations and the way that families collected their sentimental snapshots and shared experiences, offering an intimate portrait of Britain's post-war social history.

Cast & Crew

Director Kath Pick
Executive Producer Richard Bright
Producer Kath Pick