Claire FOY

The Great War: The People’s Story

Character: Kate Balfour

Directed by: Paul Copeland

Written by: Isobel Charman

Produced by: Isobel Charman

Cast Members: Olivia Colman, Rosalind March, Alison Steadman, Giles Alderson

Released date: February 2, 2015

Episode(s) Number: 1x03, 1x04

Genre: Documentary, History, War

Episodes Guide

Episode #1.03
aired on February 2, 2015

1917: Hallie Miles publishes her book Health Without Meat and is one of many expressing their fears about Zeppelin raids. Also in London Helen Bentwich, a barrister’s wife whose family has long denied her any vocation, comes to work at the Woolwich arsenal. She is shocked by the conditions of the working class and is instrumental in union activity. In the Essex country side Scots parson Andrew Clark, in his memoirs Echoes of the Great War shares Hallie’s horror of the Zeppelin bombing raids and concern that so many young men are being sent to the trenches to be slaughtered. Also in Essex nineteen year old housemaid Emily Chitticks meets and falls in love with Cornish teenager Will Martin whose regiment has been billeted nearby. He is sent to the war and the pair exchange letters but he is killed by a sniper. Emily will never marry despite surviving until 1973.

Episode #1.04
aired on February 2, 2015

1918 sees meat rationing being introduced so that Hallie and her husband Eustace, employed by the Ministry of Food, have considerable success with their vegetarian fare. Helen Bentrich, sacked from the arsenal for her socialist viewpoint, throws herself into the organization of the Women’s Land Army. She will later become a social worker in the Middle East and the Labour leader of London County Council, surviving to age eighty. Alfred Duff Cooper’s post at the Foreign Office has protected him from conscription but in 1918 he joins the Grenadier Guards as a lieutenant and is awarded the DSO for bravery. He laments the deaths of his university contemporaries to his glamorous sweetheart Diana Manners, to whom he will be married until his death in 1954. Arthur Roberts, a black shipyard worker from Glasgow, has witnessed horrific carnage which he records in his diaries. Although falsely accused of damaging a pair of boots and almost facing court martial he is not subject to racism and can even joke about looking like a white man after being caked in mortar dust. He will die in Liverpool in 1985, his diaries being posthumously discovered. Eighteen year old Ted Poole is not so lucky. With all his elder brothers killed he writes cheerful letters to his father but will die in action a month before the war’s end. Come the Armistice Winston Churchill notes the jubilation of the masses taking to the streets to celebrate the end of a costly and wasteful conflict.

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