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Britain's Great War

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7.7/10 IMDb

Composer(s)  Chris Nicolaides
Original language(s)  English
No. of episodes  4 (list of episodes)
Final episode date  17 February 2014
Presented by  Jeremy Paxman
Cast  Jeremy Paxman

Genre  Factual
Country of origin  United Kingdom
No. of series  1
First episode date  27 January 2014
Network  BBC One
Number of episodes  4
Britain's Great War httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediaenthumb2
Similar  The Great War, Britain and the Sea, The First World War, World War 1 in Colour, Empire

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Britain's Great War is a British documentary television series that broadcast on BBC One 27 January 2014. The documentary series is presented by Jeremy Paxman and was produced by the Open University and BBC Productions. The series shows how World War I affected Britain and its people. The series leads the BBC World War I centenary season.

Contents

Production

Jeremy Paxman, the presenter of the series, said: "The trouble with so much of our understanding of World War One is that it is seen through the prism of the prejudices of the hundred years which have followed it. It's an amazing and important story which deserves to be viewed afresh." A re-version of the series will be released for BBC Learning. The series consists of four hour-long episodes.

Media

The television series is an accompaniment to Jeremy Paxman's book Great Britain's Great War.

Ratings

The four episodes had viewing audiences of 17.4%, 12.7%, 13.2% and 12.9% respectively.

Critical reception

David Chater of The Times called the series "superb" and said it "does justice to the unimaginable scale of a cataclysm". Clarissa Tan from The Spectator said Paxman presented "with assuredness and gravitas". Hugo Rifkind, another journalist for The Times, said: "Documentaries must cater for those who know lots and those who know nothing. Jeremy Paxman gets the balance right". John Crace writing in The Guardian described the series as disconnected. He went on to describe it as if there was a contextual void at the centre. It wasn't that the series demanded a great historical debate on the causes of the war – though it did seem perverse that the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, the Balkans or European imperialism didn't get a mention. However Nigel H. Jones, writing for The Daily Telegraph, commented on how moving the series was, defying his low expectations.

After the second episode was shown, Jeremy Paxman faced a furious backlash after calling the extreme conscientious objectors in the First World War "cranks". The Belfast Telegraph reported a spokesman for the campaign group Peace Pledge Union describing Paxman's remarks as "unhelpful and silly". The spokesman then went on to say "One of the main issues they felt strongly about was the coercive power of the state to force people to kill, and if that is cranky I wish there were more of them. It seems to me a very laudable thing to do."

References

Britain's Great War Wikipedia


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