Thursday, 12 September 2013

Worth the Licence Fee

The Wipers Times - did you see it last night? Beeb 2. Absolutely outstanding. Wonderfully acted (who had heard of Ben Chaplin, apart from his mother and his agent, until last night?), brilliantly scripted, laugh out loud funny and genuinely moving without a grain of sentimentality.

Three cheers for Ian Hislop and Nick Newman. Hislop has done some outstanding documentaries in his time but isn't particularly funny, either in the Eye or on HIGNFY. This short film is a gem, though. Black humour at its best, great characterisation, utterly authentic (I will allow the director the artistic license that there appeared to be only 2 officers and 20 other ranks within Captain Roberts' company) and hugely worthwhile. Extraordinary that it was a true story that spawned it. Thank heavens the two main protagonists - dilettante young officers, but heroic - survived the war, Ypres/Somme/Ypres. What were the chances of that?

Even if you don't watch television, look this up on BBC iPlayer and watch it. You'll thank me. Utterly memorable. Chaplin should be mentioned in dispatches for best actor at the BAFTAs next time. Julian Rhind-Tutt (crazy name, crazy guy, always good) was a fine foil to Chaplin, a razor-sharp dry wit. Weirdly, they both made me proud to have been a soldier.


7 comments:

Thud said...

Understated and rather good.

Electro-Kevin said...

Thanks for the tip.

Of course, you should be proud of having been a soldier anyway. It's something in your past which makes me jealous.

Scrobs... said...

Watched it yesterday, and well worth the visit via Iplayer!

Many thanks for the tip!

Elby the Beserk said...

Very good - minor quibbles - one, the skits were unnecessary, and seemed nicked from Oh What A Lovely War, and two, how on EARTH did they keep so clean and how on EARTH did they keep their uniform so clean, in the trenches?

Otherwise, excellent, and the main cast were just right. I remind myself of my father, who whenever a war movie was on TV, or we went to see one at the cinema, picked holes in them all the way through, with especial reference to tanks :-) Bless him.

Electro-Kevin said...

Elby - They used to have showers provided occasionally. It was often the case that they didn't get their own uniforms back.

Idle said...

Rather cunningly, Elby, they chose khaki as the base colour. Any half-awake batman with a stiff brush could keep his gentleman officer looking presentable. Plus all officers went to the front with a change of clothes or two. They might have smelled like polecats but the service dress jacket and Sam Browne would have passed muster.

Elby the Beserk said...

Nonetheless, they were all **startlingly** clean it seemed to me!