Heart of the Angel – Molly Dineen

Molly Dineen is an acclaimed documentary maker. A programme she made more than 20 years ago still sticks in my mind and I was delighted to find it recently on YouTube. The documentary is called Heart of the Angel. It was made in 1989 and follows London Underground employees at the Angel tube station. This is one of Dineen’s early pieces and back then she made documentaries with just herself operating the camera and a sound recordist. What’s remarkable about Heart of the Angel is the way the London Underground employees speak frankly and openly about their lives, and the doumentary shows how decrepid Angel Station was (I don’t think any companies these days would allow such things). Heart of the Angel is also a piece of social history. I was still living in London in 1989. I didn’t use the Tube very often, preferring to cycle everywhere instead. However, I did pass through the Angel Station now and again (it was nearest to the buzzing Islington high street). The only one of the characters in the documentary that I remember is the lift man, who cheerily informed us passengers that the world was coming to an end.

The Angel Station is now completely modernised. The old station shown in the documentary consisted of a narrow island platform and was incredibly dangerous, particularly in the crowded rush hour (a photo of the old platform is shown at the end of this post). As usual with YouTube, the documentary has been posted in four parts. Enjoy…

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