Flying the Flag: Royals Support BAFTA in US
There was widespread concern among filmmakers at this time that the British film industry was on the cusp of collapse, with the closure of both the Eady Levy (a tax on box office receipts that fed back into film production), and the National Film Finance Corporation in 1985 affecting a drastic reduction in British film production.

An industry summit held at Downing Street in 1990 – attended by Richard Attenborough and then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher – would eventually lead to the introduction of a £5m European co-production fund, but in the meantime, there was still work to be done in trying to revive the industry. A planned State Visit to Washington DC by the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh in May 1991 gave BAFTA an opportunity to promote British talent in the US, prompting a film and TV festival dubbed The Great British Picture Show.

Among the events were a series of film lectures at the Library of Congress given by Richard Attenborough, Ken Adam and Martin Scorsese (who used his lecture to champion British filmmaking team Powell and Pressburger and their influence on his own work). Angela Lansbury was presented a Special Award at a luncheon attended by HM The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh, in recognition of her contribution to promoting British film and television in America.

Image: The Great British Picture Show at Union Station, Washington DC (BAFTA)

The Great British Picture Show at Union Station, Washington DC (BAFTA)

Video: Highlights from The Great British Picture Show in 1991, featuring Prince Phillip and Angela Lansbury, plus members of the public sharing their thoughts on British film and television. (Taken from The Great British Picture Show documentary aired on Washington TV station WETA).