From Radio times


Wednesday 18 February | 9:00pm | BBC2

You'd need a series with the budget of Saving Private Ryan to get across the full scale and horror of the Dunkirk retreat. Having less to play with, this drama-documentary (which continues tomorrow and Friday) nevertheless does a fine job of putting us in the boots of trapped British soldiers in May 1940. It's the details that make it believable: the faces of the frontline infantrymen as they're told they must hold their position to the last man, and the texture of blood mixed with dust and straw after an SS atrocity.

Be interesting to see how the BBC interpret Wormhoudt.


lads army is also being repeated for those who missed it last time round on monday morning 00.50hrs (sunday going into monday) ITV
Though it quite fine considering the shoestring (by Hollywood standards) budget, though it reminded me of 'Foyle's War' on occasion. Something about seeing WW2 in modern video-colour just doesn't sit right.
The scene where the bloke played dead with his mate's blood running into his mouth after the SS had just grenaded and machine-gunned the prisoners was quite harrowing.
Used to play barman for the Dunkirk vets in Brighton during one of my former incarnations and they lived as though on borrowed time even 60 years later. Every day's a bonus, they'd say...
Perhaps that's why we do what we do and put up with what we do...
was messaging some re-enactiors on one of their forums and they were involved in a BBC documentry of a similar type on D-Day thats ment to go out in June.
Keegan wrote a positive review in the Torygraph. I think it is quite groundbreaking and opens up a lot of possibilities - after all, the dosh required for a Band of Brothers type epic isn't available to the Beeb and there is another 5 years worth of WWII material out there! In fact, the use of veterans' recollections reminds me of the excellent "Finest Hour" book/TV series.

What are the views on the Band of Brothers series? I thought it was very good - especially considering it was for a US audience - but there was, on occasion, some artistic license where the programme clearly diverged from the book account.
BoB was good would like to have seen' pegasus bridge' given the same treatment.
In 1979 I was part of the colour party on a Dunkirk Vets National parade. As we marched on over a thousand of these chaps stood to attention, those with trilbys or bowlers raising them to the colours. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a sea of medals and a wall of pride. I still can't talk about that experience without getting moist eyes.

The p*ss up afterwards was something else too.
Yes - definitely would like to see Pegasus Bridge given the BoB treatment - how to convince Spielberg and Hanks to do it is another matter considering the Brits actually do everything properly with no assistance from the Spams.
Maybe with Charlton Heston as Monty, Tom Cruise as Lovat and Danny DeVito as Churchill???
I'd like to see El Alamein get at least the Dunkirk treatment and the BoB treatment would be even better! There seems to have been a resurgence of interest in the desert war, prompted by the 60th anniversaries recently.

My father, a Normandy campaign veteran, says it's the most accurate thing he has seen portrayed on the TV

He says as you get older, you can't remember what you did this morning, but you remember what was written on the menu board in the cafe you and your mates were holed up in, shooting at Boxheads. I think it was the Dutch Village episode that really got to him.

I see the BBC, probably through lack of decent budget, have gone for a "Collation" of certain incidents. The wormhoudt Barn , seems to have been merged with La Palisade , but the story is still got across in harrowing fashion.

I recently read, that Brian Fahy , Shirley Basseys song arranger/Manager was one of the survivors. He says when they called for 5 to come out to be shot, they lined them up, then walked down each one in turn.

Ein -Bang
Zwei -Bang
Trei -Bang

The BBC didn't show it like that, but it's what happened. possibly too harrowing , even after the watershed. It's worth reading up on the story of the retreat , anyone in the Scots Regiments knows what hapened to the 51st at St. Valery , but 5th Glosters action, should be turned into a film in it's own right. An epic story of a nightmare FIBUA during a fighting withdrawl.

The 5th Glosters at Ledringhem

Overall, not a bad effort from the Beeb, and the CGI is impressive. Just wish they had someone there who knew his archive film. I had no idea Il10 Sturmoviks took part in the air battle over Dunkirk :D


Kit Reviewer
MrPVRd said:

What are the views on the Band of Brothers series? I thought it was very good - especially considering it was for a US audience - but there was, on occasion, some artistic license where the programme clearly diverged from the book account.
I thought the scenes of contacts were extremely good, the only thing missing was the nasty loud cracks of incoming (and thankfully wide) rounds. But I imagine that would be difficult to reproduce on tv receivers.

Mr Happy

It pisses me off that mistakes are made by know-nothing care less media types like this showing the wrong aircraft in the wrong time/place type thing. Sure, budget constraints are fair enough (a.k.a. Battle of the bulge movie tanks) but if you look at the efforts that BoB got for it's tanks (see the DVD set ' making of') then you'll realise all you need to do is care a little - which is what Spielberg does of course.

They'll always be spotters but if casually interested observers can ping it..
when was the battle of the bulge filmed? modern audiencies demand greater accuracy than before.
I haven't seen the Dunkirk thing, but will will look out for it in the future, sounds very interesting.

As for BoB, I have to be honest, I thought it was a fantastic show, very accurately portraying the circumstances the soldiers found themselves in. I know we like to slate the Yanks, but I think it is hard to disagree that the 101st Airborne did an outstanding job at Bastogne and that was my favourite part of the series.

Overall, I thought the attention to detail was excellent and can't say I noticed any mistakes (and I can be a bit of spotter about that sort of thing!).

There are loads of British and/or Commonwealth actions or organisations (8th Army anyone?) that deserve the same treatment. As ever, us poor Brits can't afford the same level of production. Maybe a joint venture with the Canadians about Dieppe, or the Australians (Burma etc) would be do-able? Pegasus Bridge and the D-day/Arnhem thing could be given the mini series treatment and do justice to those who were there. We live in hope.

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