Sir John Betjeman

Many members will be very disappointed to learn that the Christmas lecture by Andrew Davies has been cancelled due to an accident and everyone at ExeDFAS wishes him a speedy recovery

To compensate this page has these links to remind us of why Sir John Betjeman, the nation's favourite Poet Laureate, was such a national treasure.

They show something of his passion for beauty, for people; for churches, railways, London; for England!

BBC TV “A Passion for Churches”: John Betjeman 1974

A “celebration of the C of E” by the Poet Laureate, who looks at several churches in the Diocese of Norwich and considers their architecture, history and worship. First broadcast on BBC TV on 7 December 1974. He visits the choirs of Wymondham Abbey and St Mary’s Church, Martham. 

Let’s Imagine A Branch Line Railway With John Betjeman

A charming programme of pure nostalgia. This focusses  on the Somerset and Dorset Railway and it must date from the very early 1960s, pre Dr Beeching. It is an absolute must for all trainspotters. Even the engines puff with a west country accent! and needless to say Sir John travels first class.

25 Minutes

A Channel 4 documentary from 2000.Very poor video quality and synchronisation, but an excellent insight into the complex man behind the avuncular image. 

This programme takes the form of an obituary notice. It is a biography  that explores the influences on his life and work, his relationships, his poetry, and also his work in television and the media as an influence on our urban and rural environment.

40 Minutes


Thank God It’s Sunday (1972). Two programmes with John Betjeman. Introduced by Alan Bennett

These two programmes must date from the early seventies if not earlier, so the picture quality is not high definition. The first is Betjeman’s loving appreciation of London in all its guises. The second is an exploration of the home counties; its suburbs, its  seaside resorts, its pubs and churches, all to the accompaniment of an afternoon’s village cricket. It is filmed in the early seventies, but encapsulates the peacetime England of the previous hundred years. Pure nostalgia generated by Betjeman’s marvellous prose.

58 Minutes

Please ignore the first two minutes visual and sound of this video. The rest is worth waiting for