Category Archives: centenary

Following Sassoon in France

Last week’s trip to France with Battle Honours Tours exceeded my expectations. The tour’s title was Sassoon on the Western Front, and our itinerary followed his military progress, around the places in France where he served and fought. We had two guides. Rory Stephens took us through the military background with commendably revisionist enthusiasm and […]

The Somme on TV

I’m sure that the Somme vigils last night were very moving experiences, and it is absolutely right and proper to remember and honour the dead. I was very disappointed, though, with what I saw of the television coverage last night. What follows may not be a complete account of the programme, since I am allergic […]

‘What should we read on the 100th anniversary of The Battle of the Somme?’

An article has appeared in the Guardian with the above title. It is not actually about what we should read, but about what they should read, since, after a nod to the better-known war poets, it is mostly about books to give children at the time of the centenary of the Somme. Most highly recommended […]

‘Oh What a Lovely War’ on tour

It’s over fifty years since I first saw Oh What a Lovely War at Wyndham’s Theatre in London. The anniversary revival at Stratford East gained some good reviews last year, so I took the opportunity yesterday to catch up with the touring version of the production at  Manchester Opera House. I went with mixed feelings. […]

Poppies, adverts, libraries

Next spring, Sainsbury’s will doubtless be celebrating Easter with a feelgood mini-movie about the crucifixion, so that they can sell more chocolate eggs. A good-looking young Roman soldier could cheer up the Virgin Mary by handing her a Kinder Surprise… It’s been a funny old fortnight for Remembrance-watchers. I didn’t get to see the poppies […]

‘Off the Shelf’ at Sheffield

The Sheffield Libraries Off the Shelf festival runs from 26th September to 27th October. (The programme can be found here.) To mark the centenary year, there are several sessions related to the First World War, including one on Wednesday 22nd October, when Professor Chris Hopkins, Dr Erica Brown and myself will be talking about the […]

Stephen Fry writes a letter

It’s an unwritten rule in twenty-first century England that every cultural project must at some stage involve Stephen Fry. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that he has now done his bit for the Great War centenary. He has contributed a project called Letter to an Unknown Soldier, which is based on Charles Sargeant […]

The BBC makes plans for war

The BBC’s plans for commemorating the centenary are outlined on this page, with a video of clips from some of the programmes we can look forward to. Gary Sheffield has already pointed out on Twitter that the trailer for the programme on Neuve Chapelle is illustrated by a (faked) clip from the Somme film. On […]