Matthew Sweet's Palace of Great War Varieties

A 'live documentary' in which historians and performers explore WWI popular culture - from music hall to movies, theatre to nightclubs and drugs. Recorded in front of an audience.

Matthew Sweet presents a special 'live documentary' exploring First World War popular culture - from music hall to movies, theatre to night clubs and drugs - recorded before an audience at the BBC's Maida Vale Studios, in the style of a music hall evening.

On the Bill:

How did Britain's touring trick-cyclists cope with the loss of their male colleagues to the Western Front?

What could you see at the movies at Christmas?

How did boredom in the trenches become the theme of a hit stage play?

What activity, first banned during the war, linked aristocrats and actresses, movie stars and prostitutes?

And what did audiences make of all this?

Find out as Matthew leads an evening of interviews, discussions and 100-year-old jokes with historians Fern Riddell, Ian Christie, Helen Brooks and Marek Kohn.

With piano accompaniment and contributions from Neil Brand, and song and play extracts performed by Ian Conningham and Hannah Genesius of the BBC Radio Drama Company.

Producer: Phil Tinline.

Available now

45 minutes

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