An epic historical drama spanning the five years of the First World War, as seen through the eyes of two ordinary young soldiers.An epic historical drama spanning the five years of the First World War, as seen through the eyes of two ordinary young soldiers.An epic historical drama spanning the five years of the First World War, as seen through the eyes of two ordinary young soldiers.
Yes, some of the button counters will be happy that they can comment on the accuracy of uniforms, sets etc. but remember this emotional drama is actually about the two young men and their progression from happy-go- lucky kids to two nameless cogs in the meat grinder that was the "Great War". As this was a pre-watershed series, the producers were careful to provide a thoughtful insight into the heartbreak that took the youth of our grandparents generation without providing OTT material for the "Call Of Duty" generation.
It was good to see that both sides were treated to the same level of sympathy, something echoed some years ago by my grandfather, who said when I asked him if he hated the Germans, said "they were just lads like us, doing the job they were supposed to do." The final episode had me in tears as I saw what could have been my own sons drawn into what turned out to be a pointless fight to the death. The final scene spoke volumes as a microcosm of the entire war for the PBI that fought it. Answering the call of duty whilst disregarding personal safety to save the life of a mate, in spite of being just seconds away from the armistice and paying the ultimate price. This should be compulsory viewing in schools so that we never make the same mistakes again. The BBC is to be congratulated for keeping the excessive swearing out of this. This generation were largely church-going kids who hadn't learned to eff and blind by the time they started school. There was some bad language, of course, but read the poems of Wilfred Owen to hear what soldiers actually cursed as they died.
The Passing Bells should be watched in schools to show the selflessness of a generation that very quickly had the jingoism knocked out of them.
- Nov 10, 2014