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The Wipers Times (BBC) [DVD]

Price: £11.55 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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The Wipers Times (BBC) [DVD] + The Wipers Times: The Famous First World War Trench Newspaper
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Product details

  • Actors: Ben Chaplin, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Michael Palin, Steve Oram, Emilia Fox
  • Directors: Andy de Emmony
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: IMC Vision
  • DVD Release Date: 7 Oct. 2013
  • Run Time: 150 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00F37VHBQ
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 10,108 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


In the bombed-out ruins of Ypres in 1916, Captain Fred Roberts and Lieutenant Jack Pearson discovered a printing press. They used it to produce The Wipers Times a humorous, satirical and subversive trench newspaper which proved hugely popular with soldiers - though not entirely with their superior officers. Braving constant bombardment and bitter fighting, The Wipers Times survived the Somme and made it through to the end of the war. Roberts and Pearson were highly decorated - yet were unrecognised in their lifetime. The Wipers Times is a story of the extraordinary resilience of the human spirit in the face of overwhelming adversity. The Wipers Times stars Ben Chaplin (London Boulevard, Me and Orson Welles, The New World), Julian Rhind-Tutt (The Hour, Green Wing), Michael Palin (Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Life Of Brian), Steve Oram (Sightseers, Kill List) and Emilia Fox (Silent Witness, Merlin) and is directed by Andy de Emmony (Love Bite, West Is West, The Bletchley Circle), produced by David Parfitt (My Week with Marilyn, Parades End, Shakespeare In Love) and written by Ian Hislop (A Bunch of Amateurs, My Dads The Prime Minister) and Nick Newman. shed a tear ***** - The Telegraph It was a wonderful tale waiting to be retold The Daily mail An extraordinary true story...Funny, sad, and parculiliarly British. And told with an affectionate twinkle. Lovely. The Guardian

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Fortuna on 20 Jan. 2015
Format: DVD
The perfect companion for all film enthusiasts is THE ROMA VICTRIX WINE BEAKERCalix Imperium, Roma Victrix Pewter wine beaker

Based on the remarkable true story of a satirical newspaper published on the front lines of World War One, this poignant yet comedic drama revels in the extraordinary resilience of the human spirit in the face of overwhelming adversity.

It's 1916 and Captain Fred Roberts (Ben Chaplin), a diamond prospector-turned-soldier, leads a small detachment of British soldiers through the ruins of Ypres, whereupon he and his men make an amazing discovery in a bombed-out building - an abandoned printing press. Roberts has an idea - why not produce a newspaper?

It may not be the most obvious course of action in the middle of a war zone, but Roberts is a natural leader who, despite two years of service, has maintained his sense of humour and sees this as an opportunity to take his men's minds off "the attentions of Messrs Hun and Co". They call it `The Wipers Times' -after the army slang for Ypres - and fill it with spoofs, jokes and subversive comedy in an effort to raise the soldiers' spirits.

The newspaper proves a hit with the troops on the Western Front, however, its production and circulation is fraught with peril in the face of wartime horrors. Its penchant for lampooning the "top brass" also incurs the wrath of the humourless Lieutenant-General Howfield (Ben Daniels) who wants it banned. With the benevolent General Mitford (Michael Palin) on his side, can Roberts' comic distraction to the mayhem of war survive?
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41 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Victor HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on 20 Sept. 2013
Format: DVD
It is an undeniable fact that the First World War was a cataclysm of unprecedented proportions, and that the conditions suffered by those who fought it were unimaginably grim. From the mud, constant shelling, ridiculous commanding officers regularly sending their men to a squalid death, the vermin in the trenches, the dead bodies littering everywhere, the horribleness of it all is epic in proportion.

And yet, in a peculiarly British way, there was still humour to be found in this most humourless of settings, and there were some minds so irrepressible they managed to get a newspaper printed in the middle of the trench so as to spread that humour. It was a vent through which the Tommies let of steam about the commanders, the conditions and life in general. Having an outlet and being able to laugh must have been a great relief to some of the men on the front.

This fascinating film tells the story of the men behind that newspaper - The Wipers Times. It's a beautifully produced piece that follows Fred Roberts, an engineer in the trenches, who comes across a printing press when out scavenging for materials with his squad. He soon has an idea to let off a bit of steam and the Wipers Times (named after the Tommie's mispronunciation of Ypres) was born. We then follow Roberts through the rest of the course of the war, as he and his squad are moved from Ypres to the Somme and back. Along the way there is injury, death and destruction, but plenty of very black humour also. Roberts has to fight off a senior officer who believes the paper to be treasonous, but luckily has the support of an even more superior officer who sees the need for the Tommies to have a vent.

It's a well constructed and excellently produced film.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By semanteme on 8 Nov. 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful production and I agree entirely with all the previous glowing reviews.
The best thing the BBC has done this year I would say without doubt.
A fine cast led by Ben Chaplin who is outstanding ("....warm woolens for war-worn Walloons" ... "from now on we are all going to be as offensive as possible!")
This is heart-warming, uplifting, human and magnificent, without in any way trivialising the horror and tragedy of that war and all wars. It is important to note that, it being a true story, as Ian Hislop pointed out, virtually no new material had to be supplied. The Wipers Times contains so much good material that is still darkly funny. The film script is wonderful. A tribute to the human spirit.

TECHNICAL PROBLEM: a word of warning however - this film deserves its 5 stars and more, but, as other reviewers have commented, there is a technical problem with the DVD itself. Although new and pristine (my 1st 2 copies were sold by Amazon itself) the DVD is faulty - I have sent back 3 copies now, all with the same defect (tried on several modern DVD players on which other DVDs work well): it only plays the 1st set of scenes and the additional interviews, etc., and I am currently without a working DVD. I will perhaps try another company fulfilling the order, or wait until this technical problem has been resolved. I have contacted the BBC who deny there is a problem with the pressing, but there clearly, DEFINITELY IS a problem with all of the batch I have received. One of my DVD players has a facility that reports specific damaged areas in DVDs and I'm afraid it was firing off all the time as soon as the DVD was inserted, would not even play the 4th scene group at all, and delivered error messages throughout from the 2nd and 3rd scene groups.
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