Calling all doccie fans...

In Military History
Well if Mike is a bit nutty about old buildings I am definitely a bit of a history documentaries obsessive. But that\'s not to say that I spend my life in a darkened room watching History Channel re-runs. I am quite picky about what I do and don\'t watch. The other night I managed to catch one of the episodes of the new series 20th Century Battlefields on the BBC looking at the Battle of Midway. It will be screened in the US later on in the year so look out for it if you are the other side of the Atlantic. In the meantime you can check out this link http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/programmes/twentiethcenturybattlefields/. It is a bit “popcorn history” designed to keep you entertained and is a bit of an excuse for Dan Snow (the younger of the well-known British presenting duo) to fly around in helicopters and trek around the jungle in camo without any real danger. Bit of a dream job really… It's probably not for you if you really know your stuff but it's fun and will probably keep the young \'uns enthralled if you are trying to trick them into catching up a bit on their history. It is also bit slicker than their last series Battlefield Britain which got a lot of viewers but controversially used the technique of interviewing “survivors” from the various battles such as Culloden etc. Don\'t get me wrong, I love the re-enacting scene but I\'m just not convinced that it works when it comes to documentaries. Feel free to hit me with some blog comments to try to convince me otherwise! I suppose I am just a bit of a traditionalist. In my eyes, nothing in recent years has even come close to matching the standards set by World at War and Ken Burns\' American Civil War film for PBS. It seems that truly great documentary series like that only come round every couple of decades. What is even more brilliant about Burns\' work was that it didn\'t use any gimmicks, computer tricks, fake interviews etc to get the story across. It simply used the letters and diary entries of soldiers who were actually there accompanied by music from the period to paint a haunting portrait of the most important period in American history. If you are one of the few people out there who has never seen any of the 11 hours of footage, go on and treat yourself to that DVD set. The good news is that Burns is planning another epic series, this time on World War II, called The War, which will screen on 23 September 2007 (Stateside only I\'m afraid to say). Mark it in your diaries now!

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