Our World War (2014– )
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Pals 

A soldier in the Manchester Pals regiment finds himself fighting both the Germans and a system that requires him to execute one of his pals.

Director:

Ben Chanan

Writer:

Joe Barton
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Cast

Episode credited cast:
Michael Socha ... Private Andy Andrews
Chris Mason ... William Hunt
Lewis Reeves ... Henry Delaney
Hannah Britland ... Lizzie
Bobby Schofield ... Tom Andrews
Laurie Kynaston ... Young British Soldier
Stuart Graham ... Father Brookes
Paul Popplewell ... Sergeant Mitchell
Luke Tittensor ... Paddy Kennedy
Sandy Batchelor ... Angus Crombie
Steven F Thompson ... German Lieutenant
Andrew MacBean Andrew MacBean ... Regimental Sergeant Major
Ryan Parker Ryan Parker ... British Soldier
Michael Peavoy Michael Peavoy ... Private Wiltshire
James Garson Chick James Garson Chick ... British Soldier
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Storyline

The Battle of the Somme, follows the extraordinary real journey of a soldier in a Pals regiment, from enlisting, through his first brush with warfare, the experience of hand-to-hand combat in fearsome and unexpected conditions and the challenges of no man's land. Written by Anonymous

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Genres:

Action | Drama | War

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Details

Release Date:

14 August 2014 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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Did You Know?

Goofs

After the Manchester Pals arrive in the Trenches, one of the characters receive a box with gifts in it. One of the gifts is a 1918 US Trench Knife and that it was a gift from their Granddad. This could not be possible since the Knife design did not exist until 1918, while this scene takes place during 1916. See more »

Soundtracks

Teenage Kicks
(uncredited)
Performed by The Undertones
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User Reviews

 
Uncompromising Analysis of Human Psychology in Wartime
18 November 2014 | by l_rawjalaurenceSee all my reviews

Joe Barton's drama involves a scenario memorably explored in films such as KING AND COUNTRY (1964) in which a deserter is about to be executed by a firing-squad during World War One. The only difference here is that attention centers on Paddy Kennedy (Luke Tittensor), one of the soldiers nominated to be part of the firing-squad.

The drama begins with Kennedy talking to Father Brookes (Stuart Graham), the night before the execution is due to take place, about how he (Kennedy) actually got there. The remainder of the action comprises a series of flashbacks looking at how he joined the army in the first place and fought at the Battle of the Somme.

Director Ben Chanan focuses our attention on the conflicts in Kennedy's mind between loyalty to his "pals" - his workmates in Manchester whom he joined up with in the first place - and loyalty to his commanding officer (and by extension, the British cause). Often Kennedy is forced to set aside personal feelings and simply go on fighting, even though he sees his friends falling down beside him during a series of skirmishes. In the theater of World War One, the equation is simple: you either kill or be killed - there's no time or place allowed for reflection.

On the other hand, Kennedy is enough of a human being to realize that what he is doing is not right - especially when his platoon has to follow the advice of a sergeant (Paul Popplewell) with little or no idea of what's happening around him. This knowledge casts a shadow on Father Brookes' claim that it is only the Professional soldiers that know how to fight a war "properly," whereas the "boys" (like Kennedy) that joined up in a fit of patriotic pride have no clue whatsoever. In Kennedy's view the pros are in fact more clueless than the boys, because they always insist that they are right, even when palpably wrong.

The production achieves much of its effect through versatile camera-work (by Stuart Bentley): during the battle-sequences a hand-held camera focuses on the soldiers' faces, and restlessly tracks them as they move into battle. There is a clever use of a repeated shot - at the beginning we see Paddy's friends in civvies, pointing their training rifles at the camera; later on the shot crops up again, only this time it is Paddy alone that hold the rifle. Everyone else has been slaughtered.

As with previous episodes in this series, Chanan uses contemporary popular songs on the soundtrack to create the mood. This strategy works especially well at the beginning when we hear a song about teenage dreams as the workmates all join up together. Such dreams were doomed to fail, despite the boys' obvious enthusiasm to fight on their country's behalf.


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