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One of the greatest achievements of television -broadcast from 1964 in 26 episodes. Use of extensive archive footage and sound effects, linked with contemporary classic music of that area. Concentrated by the commentaries by Michael Redgrave, and some of the finest male actors of the twentieth century. Still manages to be breathtaking despite the lack of special effects or modern gimmicks. Written by
The definitive television series about the first worldwar.
In the early 1960's the BBC had a very talented production team that had come together to make a nightly 'magazine' feature called 'Tonight'. They somehow became part of a project to create a series about the First World War (then still known by some people as the 'Great War').
Something of this magnitude had never before been attempted in Britain. It required a great deal of painstaking research and assembling still photographs and archive film from all over the world. More to the point, at this period, a large number of the participants were still alive and could be interviewed - the series is a priceless exercise in 'oral history'.
The principal historical consultant and writer was John Terraine, the foremost military historian of the time, and Michael Redgrave was engaged to speak the narration.
The series appeared in 1964, when I saw it as a child. It was an outstanding success, and spawned a rather weaker sequel, 'The Lost Peace'.
Then, for reasons best known to themselves, the BBC sat on the tapes. Some isolated episodes were sometimes shown at the Imperial War Museum in London, but the series was largely forgotten.
However, it has recently been re-released in its entirety as five double video packs. It should not be confused with any other series of a similar title - this remains the original and the best!
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