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The First Day

Episode 1 of 3

Drama revealing real experiences of British soldiers in the First World War. In August 1914, the Royal Fusiliers reach the town of Mons in Belgium.

Inspired by the Bafta-winning series Our War, which tracked the first-hand experiences of British troops on the front line in Afghanistan, this series immerses viewers in the real stories of British troops serving on the front line during World War I.

August 1914, two weeks after the First World War was declared. 80,000 British troops have arrived in southern Belgium, but they have yet to engage the enemy. Amongst these professional soldiers are the 4th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers, some of the best-trained gunners in the British Army.

Lieutenant Maurice Dease and his friend, Australian Lieutenant Fred Steele, command two companies of riflemen and machine gunners who find themselves camping overnight at Nimy Bridge, the northernmost point of the Mons-Conde Canal. The canal, surrounding the town of Mons, supports 18 bridges stretched along 20 miles of water - but everyone, including Private Sid Godley and his mate Private William Holbrook, expects to be crossing those bridges in the morning. Overnight, however, intelligence reports the Germans may be closer than the British think, and the Royal Engineers, including Lance Corporal Charles Jarvis and his sapper, Private Neary, are ordered to start preparing the bridges for demolition.

What happens next, on Sunday 23 August, tests the soldiers' skill, courage and ingenuity to the absolute limit, leading to the first Victoria Crosses of the First World War. Not everyone will make it through the First Day.

4 months left to watch

59 minutes

Last on

Tue 14 Oct 2014 00:15

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Music Played

Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • The Prodigy

    Invaders Must Die

  • PJ Harvey

    Big Exit

  • Alva Noto & Blixa Bargeld


  • Goat

    Run to Mama (Gnod and Raikes Parade Remix

  • Groove Armada

    Purple Haze

  • Murcof


  • Tobor Experiment Disco Experience

    A Brand New World of Allatonceness

  • Robert Logan

    Older Jug II

  • These Hidden Hands


  • Murcof


  • Roly Porter


  • Dan Skinner & Adam Skinner

    Kill Zone

  • Deuter


  • Ital Tek


  • Cat Power

    Red Apples

  • These Hidden Hands


  • Raffertie


  • Library Tapes

    Fragment VIII

  • Raffertie


  • Ital Tek

    Endgame (v2)


Role Contributor
Sid Godley Theo Barklem-Biggs
Maurice Dease Dominic Thorburn
Fred Steele Jefferson Hall
Billy Holbrook Calum Callaghan
Charles Jarvis Brian Ferguson
Sapper Neary Sion Daniel Young
Neville Daniel Kendrick
Frank Frankie Wilson
Von Armin Julian Michael Deuster
Supply Officer Stephen Leask
Director Bruce Goodison
Producer Susan Horth
Writer Joe Barton


  • Thu 7 Aug 2014 21:00
  • Fri 8 Aug 2014 03:00
  • Sat 9 Aug 2014 00:30
  • Sun 10 Aug 2014 21:00
  • Tue 12 Aug 2014 01:30
  • Mon 13 Oct 2014 23:35
  • Tue 14 Oct 2014 00:05
  • Tue 14 Oct 2014 00:15

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