This article explores the origins and work of the Birmingham Film and Video Workshop (BFVW). Addressing absences in accounts of UK screen practice, the article places the BFVW in the UK’s socio-political context of the 1970s and 80s, as part of the workshop movement and its relationship with the establishment of Channel Four Television. It asks: what were the workshops and how are they to be understood in this landscape? What kinds of work did they produce and how is it to be assessed? What was the particular nature of the BFVW in this wider context? What was the significance of its work, if indeed it was significant at all? What happened to such workshops as organisations and indeed to the work that they produced? The article explores a variety of BFVW films in terms of their aesthetic qualities and contexts of production. It draws upon archival materials as well as a series of interviews with key workshop personnel, suggesting that the re-inscription of the work of BFVW to the wider account of the workshop movement is important for understanding the structuring of this field and the history of independent production in film and television.