I am a Litter Basket (1959)

28 Aug

The BFI’s DVD releases of British Transport Films are things of wonder.  There’s the odd dry technical film that won’t really appeal to anyone who’s not obsessed with trains (I’m not), but even these usually have a great deal of period charm to recommend.  At their best the films are riveting time capsules that are sheer joy to watch.  One of the most entertaining (and strangest) is the six-minute I am a Litter Basket, directed by James Ritchie.  As the title suggests it’s told from the perspective of a station litter basket: a deeply depressed litter basket who bemoans (in dour Scots accent) his frust,ration at having to go hungry as inconsiderate travellers strew their rubbish everywhere over the station but in him.  The most amazing part of the film occurs when it suddenly transforms into the weirdest Doctor Who episode ever: the bin and his friends, unable to take the situation any longer, go on the rampage, gliding about like rudimentary Daleks and accosting people at the station in an attempt to get at their litter. The sight of people reacting with mild annoyance (or clear amusement, in one woman’s case) as someone out of shot waves a bin at them, accompanied by weird BBC Radiophonic-style electronic noises, makes for the most entertaining inanimate-objects-go-bonkers action this side of the Tomorrow People episode “The Living Skins” with its infamous balloon attacks.



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