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#26 auchonvillerssomme

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Posted 29 May 2011 - 11:00 AM

My view is let's enjoy Downton Abbey for what it is - a TV drama, not a documentary on WW1.

Roger


I have never seen this program and you are right, enjoy it for what it is, but perception is everything and when any program is set in a context of a specific time where do you draw the line on accuracy?

Mick

#27 Piorun

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Posted 29 May 2011 - 11:43 AM

The small relative number of names in country villages would have had little impact on the 'social and economic viability' of a village - whatever that means.

Very simply, it means what it says. The removal of men of sexual and physical maturity would leave a community devoid of its reproductive and labouring pool, thus becoming, for the time being, socially and ecnomically crippled. The act of "ethnic cleansing" is based on the same natural result. Antony

#28 Sue Light

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Posted 29 May 2011 - 12:31 PM

I believe that I've heard of this programme but I'm not sure that it's shown in Scotland.

'Thousands in Scotland knew about Downton Abbey. It is an upmarket programme aimed at discerning viewers'.

But apparently STV decided not to run it:

'arguing costume drama does not rate so well in Scotland as it does south of the border'.

Never mind, I think you've been treated to a new series of Taggart instead :whistle:

Sue

#29 SteveMarsdin

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Posted 29 May 2011 - 12:38 PM

Good afternoon All,

I think Mr Corrigan corroborated Alan's (Jack's) point at the GWF Conference. Villages were not wiped out, they suffered losses, some greater than others, some considerable but I would have hoped such hyperbole could be consigned to history as we approach the 100th anniversary

#30 Roger H

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Posted 29 May 2011 - 01:03 PM

I have never seen this program and you are right, enjoy it for what it is, but perception is everything and when any program is set in a context of a specific time where do you draw the line on accuracy?
Mick


Mick - a good point well made. For me, if a uniform is shown with incorrect badges or whatever, so what. But if there a big historical inaccuracies that might be a different matter, but as you say the line might well be difficult to draw.

Roger

#31 M.Davies

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Posted 29 May 2011 - 05:20 PM

Hello,

I enjoyed the last series and am looking forward to this one.

I agree with what some people have said in this thread. It is not a documentry,but a drama set in the period of the great war.If it were a documentry we would expect it to be accurate,but the makers of the prog. have to make it watchable and appeal to large number of people,not all interested in WW1 on a Sunday night.

Where do we draw the line? If all the uniforms and props. have to be correct, all the shots of the grounds around the house and surrounding landscape have to be correct too,as do the buildings etc,etc.for that paticular period of time in our history.

We are going to enjoy it,but as the other half says there is always that little red button on the remote.

Mark.

#32 Alan Tucker

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Posted 29 May 2011 - 05:36 PM

Better leave it there now 'ethnic cleansing' has made an appearance!

Very simply, it means what it says. The removal of men of sexual and physical maturity would leave a community devoid of its reproductive and labouring pool, thus becoming, for the time being, socially and ecnomically crippled. The act of "ethnic cleansing" is based on the same natural result. Antony



#33 NigelS

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Posted 24 August 2011 - 10:13 AM

There's an article in today's Telegraph (24th August) about the location of the set used for the trench scenes in the forthcoming series. Click

NigelS

#34 Rob Connolly

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 06:29 PM

Penelope Wilton? Don't trust her - she's a zombie!

#35 squirrel

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 07:36 PM

I may be a pedant, but if, as I suspect, there will be end credits for historical, military and costume designers/advisors/researchers then perhaps there is little or no excuse for inaccuracies.

#36 Andrew Upton

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 11:57 PM

I may be a pedant, but if, as I suspect, there will be end credits for historical, military and costume designers/advisors/researchers then perhaps there is little or no excuse for inaccuracies.


Thats a bit unfair - you can have the best advisor in the world for any given subject, but if the head honcho really insists on, say steel helmets in a 1914 scenario "to better illustrate the inhumanity of war" or some-such nonsense then there really isn't a lot the expert can do.

#37 Gibbo

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 08:54 AM

'Thousands in Scotland knew about Downton Abbey. It is an upmarket programme aimed at discerning viewers'.

But apparently STV decided not to run it:

'arguing costume drama does not rate so well in Scotland as it does south of the border'.

Never mind, I think you've been treated to a new series of Taggart instead :whistle:

Sue


That was what STV publicly claimed, but the real reason was a financial dispute between it and the rest of ITV. It's now been resolved, and STV is showing the first series on Sunday afternoons. The final episode is on Sunday 18 September. The second series starts at 9pm that evening, the same time as the rest of the country.

About half the population of Scotland could watch the first series at the same time as the rest of Britain, since Sky and Virgin show at least ITV London and I think all ITV regional variations nationwide.

#38 squirrel

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 01:57 PM

Thats a bit unfair - you can have the best advisor in the world for any given subject, but if the head honcho really insists on, say steel helmets in a 1914 scenario "to better illustrate the inhumanity of war" or some-such nonsense then there really isn't a lot the expert can do.


Little point in having the historical, military and costume designers/advisors/researchers then.

#39 Moonraker

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 03:57 PM

Let's wait and see how minor/major any inaccuracies are. I vaguely recall that the makers of "All the King's Men", the David Jason TV drama about Sandringham workers at Gallipoli, wanted to feature conscientious objectors until the experts pointed out that conscription hadn't been introduced.

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#40 Andrew Upton

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 05:40 PM

Little point in having the historical, military and costume designers/advisors/researchers then.


I agree, but that's how things often work.

#41 bill24chev

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 07:17 AM

I must admit I do not know enough about all things Ggreat War to get upset about minor inaccuracies. What does annoy me is inconsistant use of badges, medals etc.

For example in a fairly recent TV drama based on the Homegurad in the Noth East of England the main characters appeared with various different combinations of the three/two WW1 medals. sometimes having only two sometimes all three and sometimes the ribbon the wrong way round. Also the unit OC who according to the plot had never left the UK had the trio!.

#42 hesmond

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 09:04 AM

Quite right in what you say ,just look at all the issues when the 1968 Charge of the Light Brigade was filmed ,a company was set up under the Mollo brothers to research not only uniforms but all aspects of the armys involved ,many years of research bundles of money ,then Richardson says i want all British cavalry in Cherry overalls ,oh and the British army will be wearing brown uniforms ,lots of throwing toys out of prams ,but in the end it was his film ?



#43 David Filsell

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 04:00 PM

Ah those damned Home Gurad medals, the catch me out every time - the lack of accurate reference is a real bu**er

#44 Andrew Upton

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 05:24 PM

Also the unit OC who according to the plot had never left the UK had the trio!.


That bit was deliberate though (he was pretending to have served overseas despite having only worked in a hospital in the UK).

#45 Chief_Chum

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Posted 09 September 2011 - 12:15 AM

"Let's wait and see how minor/major any inaccuracies are. I vaguely recall that the makers of "All the King's Men", the David Jason TV drama about Sandringham workers at Gallipoli, wanted to feature conscientious objectors until the experts pointed out that conscription hadn't been introduced."

I certainly did advise but the job title is hysterical advisor, not enforcer. The decision to include the "conchie" (he is in the final edit) was a creative one and, although August 1915 pre-dates conscription, plenty of people were given a hard time for being opposed to the war. As a piece of drama (and ATKM never pretended to be anything else) it brought the story of the Gallipoli campaign to millions of people who had never heard of it and, to be totally honest, the true story of the Battalion was pretty dull and would never have been made into a drama without a fantasy woven into it. As an aside, several of the production team for Downton were people I had last worked with on All The King's Men.

We have worked on the trench scenes for Downton Abbey and I am very happy with all the footage I have seen so far. We were not responsible for dressing the principal cast members but all the background guys are down to us and we helped to create some great scenes for them. Likewise, all the non-trench scenes were shot elsewhere and, apart from helping with some historical advice and answering questions from the Art Department, we had no input into the them so I can't comment on them.

Downton was a real pleasure to work on and everyone was keen to make it as accurate as possible, albeit within its drama remit. Many Great War cliches have been avoided in the bits we were involved with and they were happy to listen to advice on when the battle scenes should be set which was very refreshing.

No matter how hard we try there will always be things which will slip through the net but I hope that most of you will enjoy it for what it is - a piece of great Sunday evening entertainment.

Cheers,

Taff


PS: "Thats a bit unfair - you can have the best advisor in the world for any given subject, but if the head honcho really insists on, say steel helmets in a 1914 scenario "to better illustrate the inhumanity of war" or some-such nonsense then there really isn't a lot the expert can do."

Actually Andrew, I would hope that even those of us who are not "the best advisor in the world" would tell them where to stick their production if they wanted to do stuff like that!

#46 Moonraker

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Posted 09 September 2011 - 08:34 AM

... the true story of the Battalion was pretty dull and would never have been made into a drama without a fantasy woven into it.
Taff


I'm wandering a bit from the this topic but many WWII films about real events have been embellished with a romance, fighting or some other fictitious incident to liven things up.

As for realism, I splutter when vintage Westerns set before the War between the States, even in the 1830s and 1840s, feature repeating rifles. I suspect that this was done on purpose to facilitate a lot of shooting that wouldn't have been possible in reality because it took so long to re-load.

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#47 LST_164

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Posted 09 September 2011 - 08:47 AM

I remember it was said that the late Brigadier Young of the Sealed Knot was adviser to the 1980s TV series By The Sword Divided. Word had it that his recommendations were listened to with respect and applied accordingly. I liked the series but perhaps that's because I hadn't enough knowledge to pick out inevitable costume/scenario discrepancies - it was just good entertainment.

...On the other hand I also found myself trying to advise a scriptwriter for a one-off TV drama on Sassoon that it was not the practice for 1914 Territorial recruits (or any other) to have to salute the Regimental Colours on enlisting (they being helpfully unfurled in the recruiting office). The script won out mostly, and I had to watch a lone and somehow already-uniformed Sassoon being improperly attested in the office of some senior officer, then duly saluting the Union Jack (minor concession there). Mercifully, they didn't want my advice on the rest of the saga.

I also had to answer calls from the historical adviser for another WW1 TV drama to advise him in my turn on things like what a DCM ribbon looked like, or the appearance of WW1 Army vehicle number plates. One can't know everything, of course...

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#48 Chief_Chum

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Posted 09 September 2011 - 11:51 AM

"I'm wandering a bit from the this topic but many WWII films about real events have been embellished with a romance, fighting or some other fictitious incident to liven things up."

ANZACs is a good example. The writers trawled through Bean's official history of the ANZACs and inflicted all the most interesting actions from the whole of the AIF onto one battalion.

Very often the use of the wrong weapons can be down to something as simple as not having enough of the correct type available - or in a usable condition. The background men in 'Zulu' have Long Lees for instance as there were not enough usable Martini Henrys available.

"One can't know everything of course..."

Obviously not. As far as I'm concerned the best historical advisors are not those who claim to know everything but those who either know where to find out what they don't know - or know who to ask. The very worst are those who try to blag their way through and make stuff up to please directors rather than say, "I'm not sure, but give me a few minutes and I will find out".

#49 LST_164

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Posted 09 September 2011 - 01:05 PM

"One can't know everything of course..."

Obviously not. As far as I'm concerned the best historical advisors are not those who claim to know everything but those who either know where to find out what they don't know - or know who to ask. The very worst are those who try to blag their way through and make stuff up to please directors rather than say, "I'm not sure, but give me a few minutes and I will find out".
[/quote]

Absolutely true! In the first instance I'd written a thesis on recruitment so I suppose I ought to have had some idea of what went on during attestation (though again I know rather more now, nearly 30 years later). But I'd as equally have been useless on what type of Brodie, or battle patches etc. without looking it up or asking someone who knew. As you say, expertise isn't in having it all in your head, but knowing where to find the required detail.

In the second, the advisor wasn't a military historian in one sense: he did have expertise in one limited part of the WW1 field which applied to the plot of the drama, but couldn't have fielded uniform or equipment questions. But I had met him a number of times so he turned to me to try to resolve some of the details he was being asked about by the production people. I either happened to know (DCM), or could grab a reference volume quickly (number plates).

This was the same production I was told whose makers were sold "the last surviving box of Lewis Gun ammunition" to fire during the filming. That would have been interesting to see!

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#50 Andrew Upton

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Posted 09 September 2011 - 05:32 PM

PS: "Thats a bit unfair - you can have the best advisor in the world for any given subject, but if the head honcho really insists on, say steel helmets in a 1914 scenario "to better illustrate the inhumanity of war" or some-such nonsense then there really isn't a lot the expert can do."

Actually Andrew, I would hope that even those of us who are not "the best advisor in the world" would tell them where to stick their production if they wanted to do stuff like that!


I agree, but if it is the head persons baby and they ultimately have control and there is something they insist on, ultimately the expert is the expendable one and there's always someone out there willing to do the job the way its wanted instead - been happening like that since the very earliest days of cinema...