Shadows on the Western Front + Man of the Sea
Shadows on the Western Front is a 50 minute documentary made for the BBC in 1994 with the last eight WW1 trench warfare veterans of Wales. Nominated for a Royal Television Society award.
Review by Gethyn Stoodley-Thomas, Western Mail, Nov 1995:
Pity of war was never more clearly stated
From BBC Wales came the best of all the documentaries, the searingly truthful Shadows on the Western Front, with the elderly survivors of World War 1 telling their experiences, vividly illustrated in a superb film by Daniel Whistler broadcast on Remembrance Sunday. Here is a talent for television that must not be allowed to get away.
Eight old soldiers, aged between 94 and 107, gave us their astonishing and heart-stopping memories of their days of warfare long ago. In these times, when bureaucracy and so-called “producer’s choice” have ravaged those high standards of output that the BBC once proudly boasted, it’s like a breath of fresh air to find a programme as sensitive and deeply moving as this.
It’s not often these days that an hour’s television passes so rapidly across our screens. First-class editing, splendid use of wonderful archive material of old films and stills and, above all, the clarity and unforced stories of these veterans, calling back their terrible yesterdays in calm reflection, all reflected credit on this first-class production.
Man of the Sea is a 30 minute first screening, a work-in-progress portrait of an elderly master mariner, Captain Adrian Small, living in Devon. Adrian brings extraordinary expertise in sailing square rigged ships, as historical replica master and film ship captain. He first voyaged to Australia in 1947 aged 16 on one of the greatest four-masted barques.