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The Great War - An Elegy: A Culture Show Special

Acclaimed poet Simon Armitage explores seven real-life World War I stories, each one culminating in a poem inspired by his research.

In a major new BBC commission, acclaimed poet Simon Armitage has written seven new poems about World War I that form the centre of his latest television documentary.

Armitage visits French beaches, German prison camps, so-called 'thankful' villages and remote corners of the Scottish Highlands as he considers the death of over 700,000 British soldiers in the conflict and tells seven real-life war stories. He learns of those who lived and died through it, those who worked and grieved and cried through it, and even those who tunnelled to freedom beneath its very soil. Each story culminates in a poem inspired by Armitage's research.

Featuring readings by both the poet himself and the surviving relatives of those whose stories he tells, this film offers an opportunity to reflect again on that catastrophic loss of life, and to think about how we commemorate the dead for the next 100 years.

1 hour


Role Contributor
Presenter Simon Armitage
Director Zoe Silver
Series Editor Janet Lee


  • Sat 8 Nov 2014 20:00
  • Sat 8 Nov 2014 22:30
  • Tue 11 Nov 2014 23:15
  • Tue 11 Nov 2014 23:25
  • Tue 11 Nov 2014 23:45
  • Sat 20 Dec 2014 01:20

BBC Arts

BBC Arts

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