WATCH: Sunderland Echo’s history brought to life with BFI project

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Rare footage of how your Sunderland Echo was put together more than 35 years ago has been available to watch online for the first time.

As part of the British Film Institute’s (BFI) Britain on Film project, clips detailing life at the paper’s former base in Pennywell have been released.

Echo staff at work at the paper's Pennywell office in 1980

Echo staff at work at the paper's Pennywell office in 1980

Filmed in 1980, “It’s Your Evening” shows the changing face of newspaper production at that time as computers were introduced, and printers’ hot metal gave way to a new era of web offset litho production.

Shot and edited by Turners Film Productions, the documentary reinforces the message of the Echo as a family newspaper packed with great stories and loyal to its readers.

Amongst the reports is a performance by legendary Penshaw-raised comic Bobby “The Little Waster” Thompson at the Mayfair Ballroom in Newcastle.

Focusing on the production side of the business, it details how the paper’s move from its Bridge Street home to Pennywell in 1976 meant that an “80-page newspaper can be printed at a top running speed of 120,000 copies an hour”.

The strength of our regional content is in its ability to re-connect audiences with film made in, or about, their own communities – people have a sense of ownership of these images, and have their own stories to share.

Graham Relton, of North East Film Archive

Then editor Arthur Coates is also seen discussing what stories to run in his daily conference alongside colleagues.

As well as the Echo film, the launch of MV British Cavalier from Joseph Thompson and Sons’ North Sands shipyard in June 1962 is also recorded.

The Growth of Durham, made in 1963, portrays the city and the River Wear at that time.

By 2017, thanks to National Lottery funding and the support of the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, 10,000 film and TV titles from 1895 to the present day will be digitised.

An Echo seller in 1980 documentary "It's Your Evening"

An Echo seller in 1980 documentary "It's Your Evening"

The public can get involved with the project via Twitter and Facebook, with a campaign launching today that sees 60 films from all over the UK released over 60 days, and special screenings, events and partnerships across the North East.

Sorting through Spot the Ball competition entries in 1980 documentary "It's Your Evening"

Sorting through Spot the Ball competition entries in 1980 documentary "It's Your Evening"