BBC to mark WWI with *four years* of programming

This sounds amazing. From the Guardian:

The BBC has unveiled its most ambitious television season ever – 130 programmes spanning 2,500 hours – that will air over four years to mark the centenary of the first world war.

The season is designed to match the timespan of the 1914-18 war, and include a daily BBC Radio 4 drama.

“This season is going to have a profound impact on the way we think about world war one,” said [director general Tony] Hall, speaking in the BBC’s Radio Theatre at New Broadcasting House. “On television, on radio and on digital, we’ll be exploring how this conflict, above all others, shaped our families, our communities, our world – and continues to influence us today.”

The BBC claims the scale of the season and its breadth are “unique” and it will “be much more than a chronological historical record” said its world war one centenary controller, Adrian Van Klaveren.

The coverage will echo the timeframe of the Great War, running until 2018.

Radio 4 will broadcast one of its biggest-ever drama commissions, Home Front.

From August 2014, each day it will follow characters in real time as they try to cope with the realities of wartime Britain, with every episode set 100 years to the day of broadcast.

Whoa. I have never been particularly interested in radio drama, but I might have to give Home Front a try.

What WWI stories do you want to see covered?

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Wed, Oct 16, 2013 10:33pm

Ooh, that sounds good!!
Stories about WWI I’d like to see:
Vera Brittain, writer and pacifist after the war, served as a nurse during it, lost her fiance, brother, and several friends, and wrote a fantastic memoir in the 1930s called Testament of Youth.
Something about the wartime poets and their writings.
More stories about the Eastern Front, especially in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
The Armenian genocide.
The shellshock victims. There is absolutely heartbreaking footage that was filmed of these men, trembling uncontrollably, or one that I think I’ll always remember, a young man sitting on a hospital cot uncommunicative, almost catatonic, until the doctor sitting next to him says the word “Bomb,” at which point the man dives under the cot and only emerges reluctantly when he’s reassured that he’s safe. I always wondered what happened to those men–did they ever recover, at least physically?

reply to  Kathy_A
Thu, Oct 17, 2013 1:21pm

Testament of Youth was already made into a miniseries back in the late ’70’s on the BBC, I think.

I second stories about the Armenian genocide.

Also, rumor has it that the first bullet fired in WWI was not anywhere in Europe, but was fired by a British soldier (who was not English, but from an unknown African nation), probably from the British colony of Ghana, in the German colony of Togoland. There’s a story in that.

Thu, Oct 17, 2013 2:29am

stories about the nurses and women ambulance drivers who risked life and limb to care for men they didn’t know…

Thu, Oct 17, 2013 12:45pm

I hope that there’s room for more than one political message. The BBC has a tendency to bang on about things to the point that one starts to disagree with them just for the sake of having a conversation.

Home Front sounds interesting, but my word, it’ll depend hugely on whom they get to run it. The ex-editor of The Archers is probably looking for a job, but she’d be terrible at it…

Thu, Oct 17, 2013 10:38pm

Side note–even if you’re not really into radio drama, I recommend looking up the BBC Radio production of Lord of the Rings from 1980 or so, the one with Ian Holm as Frodo, Bill Nighy as Sam, Robert Stephens as Aragorn, and Michael Hordern as Gandalf. I picked up the set on CD back in 2001, and I really love it, especially Nighy’s performance, which is just amazing to listen to.
I guess this post sort of ties into the WWI stuff, since JRR Tolkien was a war veteran!
Actually, that might be another interesting story to tell–which authors were obviously reflecting their experiences of the war in their later writings? I’ve got a great book called JRR Tolkien: Author of the Century, by Tom Shippey, in which Shippey goes into great detail on this topic, stating that JRRT, CS Lewis, and TH White all drew on their war background for their works, as well as Kurt Vonnegut and his WWII POW the Dresden firebombing experience showing up in most of his work.