9 November, 2014: Sniping

Actually, I’ve put down my sniper rifle so I can spend a moment giving thanks and praise where it’s due.  There I was, armed and ready, one eye glued to the sniperscope, when a target in BBC uniform wandered into view and I got set to mark up another victim.  Fortunately, and like any sniper with a conscience, I’m apt to take an interest in the face and personality of anything I plan to shoot, and this time it was worth it.  I took a good look, and realised this particular documentary series didn’t deserve a bullet.  It’s the Beeb, it’s the right stuff, and it’s called World War One: Beyond the Trenches.

Because Poppycock is by nature British and a pedant, I have a small issue with ‘World War One’ as a title (that’s American; it’s called the First World War), and at five minutes a shot it’s ridiculously short, but otherwise the series is a marvellous look at those heritage-obscured ways and places in which the big, wide world was transformed by the conflict.  Sure, it suffers a little from television history’s usual need to fit narrative to available pictures, but it doesn’t rely for a thesis on some art-schooled director with no history, it puts out some basic facts to go with its vignettes, and it’s full of amazing stuff that’s hard to find elsewhere. Do yourself a favour and watch some.  Do the BBC a favour and tell it you want more.  Thank you.

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