A SOCIOLOGY expert from the University of Essex is set to star in a feature-length documentary giving viewers a unique look at a bygone era.

Professor Pam Cox will appear alongside a team of experts in Victorian Britain: The Lost Films when it makes its television debut on Channel 5.

The programme centres on ordinary life and extraordinary moments captured on what was then an exciting new invention, the motion picture camera.

It features everything from triumphant events, disasters and infamous criminals, to sporting passions, soldiers at war and children playing.

The majority of the clips used in the documentary have been colourised to give audiences the same feeling Victorians would have experienced.

Gazette: Star - Professor Pamela Cox of the University of Essex provides commentary to a new Channel 5 series

As a result, they offer a rare portrait of a powerful and prosperous nation on the cusp of great change while exploring the intricacies and contradictions of Victorian life.

Prof Cox, who works at the University of Essex’s department of sociology, features in the show alongside filmmakers, authors and those connected to the featured films.

She said: “These moving images of Victorian Britain are incredible and help us understand that time in a new way.

“Being able to see the faces of match girls, dockers, shoppers and emigrants, as well as celebrities of the day, brings their stories right into our living rooms.”

Victorian Britain: The Lost Films explores the disastrous launch of HMS Albion which killed 34 spectators and the life of infamous cat-burglar and murderer Charles Peace.

The documentary also touches on the story of William Booth’s Salvation Army tackling safety conditions in the match industry.

The programme even features surprising celebrities of the music hall era, such as Little Tich, Annie Oakley, and the world’s first body-builder, Eugen Sandow.

A spokesman for the film added: “These moving images illuminate a world which feels both eerily familiar and irredeemably lost.

“They leave us with a sense of a past time that still shapes aspects of our lives today.”

Victorian Britain: The Lost Films will be screened on Saturday starting at 6.30pm.