Top positive review
39 people found this helpful
on 7 May 2009
It's clear from the numerous gags rattled off by The Pub Landlord about 'The War' that Al Murray has more than a passing interest in the Second World War: in this double dvd set, he clearly and ably displays his passion.
But don't expect geezer-banter about teaching the Huns a lesson. This is Oxford University History graduate Al Murray presenting, not the boozy diatribe of the Pub Landlord, and appropriately, there are no laughs in this ten part series.
However, this is a far from dry regurgitation of textbook history. Interspersed with original film footage, Murray's series sees him tootle from battlefield to battlefield in an original wartime jeep, visiting the key points and bloody milestones that led to Berlin.
Murray's wide-eyed, genuine interest and respect for the subject matter shows through, none more so than when he interviews veterans from all the fighting nations: from pigeon-chested, elderly British paratroops reliving the pathos of Arnhem to an aged but still fiery, bemedalled Russian recalling Berlin street battles.
This type of documentary could easily have gone the way of a gung-ho Boy's Own adventure, but refreshingly, Murray keeps the story in perspective, interviewing a weary, Jewish former slave labourer and a German who saw his father shot whilst attempting to surrender . Most poignantly, while touring the site of the Bergen Belsen concentration camp, Murray suddenly deviates from the script and ends the visit.
This is a great lesson in how to revitalise history, retelling the story in an engaging, entertaining and attention-hogging manner, whilst educating the viewer and perpetuating the remembrance message in a lively and memorable way.