Is This The World We Created?

Andrew Marr c

Andrew Marr Oversees Our Modern History

I am not a frequent watcher of history programming, in fact, I struggle to recall the last time I sat down to watch any factual history programme. So, it was just a coincidence that I sat down on Monday evening and, while flicking through the EPG, I saw that Andrew Marr’s History of Modern Britain was about to start on BBC2. I can safely say I learned more about the history of Britain from watching this than I have from any other source. This first of five parts took us on an intriguing walk through the first seven years of the post-war period: the Attlee government, the Beveridge Report and the setting up of the NHS, rationing, the Land Lease, the end of the empire, Churchill’s re-election, the Iron Curtain, the rise of the USA and the importance of Ealing Studios. All of these stories were woven together with passion and intrigue and a not a little wit and repartee of the former BBC polital correspondant, even his impressions of Churchill were entertaining.

The story contained plenty of drama along the way and historical footage from the times was cleverly intersperced with new material from a variety of relevant locations as Mr Marr went on the road (even as far as to the US Federal Reserve) to add colour and vibrancy to the tales.  Thomas Sutcliffe’s review of this show in the Independent highlighted the presenter’s knack with words that brightened what could’ve been somewhat dull in less capable hands….“William Beveridge, not as pretty as a Spitfire but a British national triumph”. I can’t wait for future installments and I was even tempted by the book that accompanies the series in WHSmiths this afternoon, but £25 was a little too steep for this substantial tome.  I may get the DVD though, if this quality is maintained.

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