Monday, 7 November 2011

The World at War

When I was about 11 years old, there was something of a Sunday ritual in our house. I went to Church in the morning at the ultra modern methodist church in town. We methodists are a strange bunch, taken to listening to services and singing hymns in fields. But usually we were at the church.

Then we would have the traditional Sunday roast. Then, in the early afternoon, I would watch The World at War and the ITV football highlights.

I now realise what an amazing programme The World at War was, but at the time no doubt I just thought it was a standard show. It was the first programme were I ever saw a real dead person. I remember the dramatic films of German warplanes bombing - especially the Stukas with their sirens. But mainly, I remember the shows title and end sequence. the opening sequence with the flames and the dramatic music and the high contrast photographs which would seem to burn away. And the little boy in the sequence who looked a lot like my brother, Christopher, who had died a little while before.

I am currently re-watching the entire series, three or four episodes a week and have so far reached about episode 15, Home Fires (Britain 1940-1944). And just a few episodes away is episode 20, Genocide (1941-1945), one of the most amazing things I have ever seen on tv. Aged 11 or so, I had little idea about these events, but that episode has stuck in my mind ever since. How will it be, seeing it again after more than 30 years?

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