Wouldn’t want to face a machine gun without this.

by Harry on July 29, 2014



ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© 07.29.14 at 7:24 pm

Come on, Harry, there’s good money in it.


MPAVictoria 07.29.14 at 7:44 pm

Loved this show.


BruceJ 07.29.14 at 7:56 pm

That was possibly the saddest episode of a comedy ever.

Also, the best depiction of the sheer insanity of the war ever.


Micheal Lunny 07.29.14 at 8:45 pm

A tear or two rolled down my cheek when I saw it back in the day, it seemed strangely audacious even if in retrospect there was no other way it could have ended.

War, it’s fantastic.


Barry 07.29.14 at 10:29 pm

I had to recall that all of the seasons ended with pretty much everybody dead.


harry b 07.30.14 at 1:36 am

I saved it for the day after the 100th anniversary (of the beginning of the war, not the episode). I think of it as a parting gift to Michael Gove as Secretary for Education.

Here’s a clip about how they made that very final scene, which is really interesting — apparently it was, initially, a disaster:


John Quiggin 07.30.14 at 2:34 am

I have a piece in the International New York Times (came out a day or so ago), looking at Australia’s role in this tragedy



Stephenson quoter-kun 07.30.14 at 6:44 am

This is pretty much the only piece of television that has ever reduced me to tears, and it still does.


iolanthe 07.31.14 at 8:46 am

An interesting piece Prof Quiggin but are Fromelles and Beersheba really that obscure? I would have thought virtually anyone who had any but the most superficial knowledge of World War One would have heard of them. And while I know space is scarce in these pieces, an interesting development over the last few years is the increasing recognition of the role of turning the tactics of 1914/15 (about which Blackadder is sadly accurate) through to the combined arms operations of 1917/18 – an area where the Australians through Monash were at the forefront. It makes for a very interesting contrast to the amateur soldiers wasted by incompetent pommy officers that underpins the Gallipoli narrative.


John Quiggin 07.31.14 at 9:26 am

@iolanthe Fromelles has been getting a bit of attention in Australia recently, but I hadn’t heard of it before that. Beersheba the opposite. I would quite frankly be surprised if our current (WWI triumphalist) PM could tell you anything about it, though both for family (my grandfather served in the Light Horse) and literary (FD Davison’s The Wells of Beersheba is a minor classic) reasons, I am well-informed.

But, if anyone else cares to comment I’d be interested. I’d guess that almost no-one who isn’t either an Australian or a WWI buff would have heard of these.

As regards the changes in tactics, I’m underwhelmed by recent revisionism, to put it mildly. In the (1918) 100 days, when the war really got mobile, Wikipedia reports casualties of a million or so on each side. That’s more than the Somme, and comparable to Verdun, which lasted nearly a year. Of course, viewed in terms of deaths per metre gained, there’s a huge increase in efficiency here. But I’d say the real point was that the increased death rate got the logic of attrition going sharply in favor of the more numerous Allies.


Sam C 08.04.14 at 12:42 am

Isn’t “fade to poppies” (describing the final shot) a haunting phrase?


Donald A. Coffin 08.04.14 at 1:17 am

The recent ceramic poppies installations in the UK led me to re-read “In Flanders Fields” for the first time in maybe 40 years. It played in my memory as an anti-war poem, but, no. Here’s the final stanza:

“Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.”

So, go forth and kill some more…which depresses me more than a little.

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