Recommended by Graeme Humphries – Deputy Director (Administration & Marketing)

  • UK /  1973
  • British Television Series – 26 Episodes
  • Produced by Jeremy Isaacs / Narrated by Laurence Olivier

My youngest son is studying the Second World War as part of his history GCSE and I remembered watching this series when I was at school. The scope of this documentary series as well as its first-hand interviews with participants on all sides is still striking (I bought it on DVD just before Christmas and am up to episode 7).

‘The World at War’ attracted widespread acclaim and is regarded as a landmark in British television history. The interviews in the series were concentrated on surviving aides and assistants rather than recognisable figures and among many other aspects, the series focused on a portrayal of the experience of the conflict and how it affected soldiers, sailors and airmen, civilians, concentration camp inmates, and other victims of the war.

The first episode opens with a chilling description of the events at the French village of Oradour-sur-Glane and episode 26 ends with Laurence Olivier’s final word “Remember”.

It’s difficult to find short clips of this series so I have instead chosen another striking part of the series – its opening and closing theme music by Carl Davis.