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40 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Wipers Times - Laughing at the absurdity of war
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...
Published 12 months ago by Victor

versus
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars no subtitles
I bought this for my Mum as a gift, she is quite deaf and relies on subtitles, having missed it when it was on TV originally as she was in hospital. I am very disappointed this has no subtitles, though the original programme on TV did have them. Fells as if we have gone backwards by about 40 years, shame on you producers.
Published 8 months ago by mrs l phillips


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40 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Wipers Times - Laughing at the absurdity of war, 20 Sep 2013
By 
Victor (Hull, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Wipers Times (BBC) [DVD] (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. Ben Chaplin really shines as the irrepressible Roberts, aided and abetted by Julian Rhind-Tutt as his Lieutenant. Michael Palin however steals the show as the superior officer supporting the enterprise, sharing the joke with a twinkle in his eye, yet aware of the very serious nature of what is going on in some well expressed and delivered arguments.

It was a film that I enjoyed, and it told me a lot about something I previously knew nothing about, so on that score it gets top marks. But as a film there is something missing. There is a lack of emotional punch, and a sense of meandering in the story line that allowed my attention to wander a little in the second half. So not quite full marks. It's a very very worthwhile watch, with a lot of very well done black humour and some great performances. 4 stars.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, 8 Nov 2013
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This review is from: The Wipers Times (BBC) [DVD] (DVD)
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. I really hope that someone out there can sell me a working copy of this....

But this is such an outstanding film, do not let this technical problem get in the way of trying to obtain a decent copy of it that works. It is an absolute must.
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29 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Wipers for your Private Eyes !, 15 Sep 2013
This review is from: The Wipers Times (BBC) [DVD] (DVD)
You must watch this drama.

Clever, well acted, full of black humour and more general wit it touches the soul. It shows how brave, clever men can come through extreme prolonged duress if given outlets for their abilities and good companionship.

All the actors delight each doing his or her part superbly. Chaplin is a revelation.

A true understanding of what the phrase "stiff Upper Lip" meant and means lays behind this drama.

You will be missing out if you do not watch this lovely film.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wipers Times, 19 Feb 2014
By 
Mrs. Rp Meinke "Rachel" (Guernsey, Channel Islands) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: The Wipers Times (BBC) [DVD] (DVD)
This seemingly frivolous story in fact shows the courage of men under fire, using humour and wit to keep spirits high enough for them to carry on with the dreadful warfare. They had no choice but to pursue the Enemy, mostly conscripted men, or those duped by all the publicity and patriotism thrown at them by the recruiting force.
My Father lied about his age and was sent, at much too young an age, to the Somme. He could never speak about those times, except to say he had a lump of shrapnel in his skull. One cannot imagine how these exhausted serving me could summon up the energy to write and Print the Wipers Times, but I can imagine how it helped keep up morale amid such slaughter.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Portrayal of A small but Significant event in WW!, 25 Aug 2014
By 
Bruce Miller "hyper2u" (Louisville, Kentucky and San Diego, California) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Wipers Times (BBC) [DVD] (DVD)
Excellent Portrayal of A small but Significant event in WW!. This was a fabulous story of a small military unit that tried to bring humor and levity into the terrrible circumstances surrounding a Combat Engineer unit in WW!. The engineers actually published a newspaper of sorts using captured and liberated printing presses and portrayed the wartime situation from the prospective of the lower ranking soldiers. Everything was done "tongue in cheek"; however, some senior officers took exception, while others were quite supportive of the efforts. The ending was very realistic and was similiar to circumstances that today's soldiers and service persons find themselves regarding employment and dealing with PTSD. The story is timeless and has as much merit today as it did during the WW1 period.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant, 11 Dec 2013
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This review is from: The Wipers Times (BBC) [DVD] (DVD)
A must see film. I've bought this for several people for Christmas. A black comedy but also poignant and fascinating.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Realistically brilliant, 27 Nov 2013
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This review is from: The Wipers Times (BBC) [DVD] (DVD)
Too think that this actually happened during the first world war. There was no sentimentality or schmoltz at all (you tend to get all that in any American series) and the acting was superb. I had some tears in my eyes at certain moments. A must if you want to see a true account of the goings on during World War I
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars They didnt make it up...., 30 April 2014
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This review is from: The Wipers Times (BBC) [DVD] (DVD)
Going for a gentler "hit" than Blackadder Goes forth, this has some great moments and a great michael Palin cameo as a much more human Upper Echelon chappie than one expects. Still remember ....
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The British Tommy laughing in the face of WWI adversity, 27 Dec 2013
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This review is from: The Wipers Times (BBC) [DVD] (DVD)
Calix Imperium, Roma Victrix Pewter wine beaker
A great black comedy masterfully produced and well acted throughout, based on a true story it is all at once witty and thought provoking. Highly recommended.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Wipers Times, 7 Dec 2013
By 
Gray Mage (West Sussex U K) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Wipers Times (BBC) [DVD] (DVD)
Brilliant film about WW1 soldiers at the front who start a local newspaper to circulate around the troops in their area when they discover a printing press in a bombed building near Ypres, (hence the name!). It's full of humour and wit with plenty of internecine banter and some officer hostility. OK for ages from about 12.
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