A major BBC Radio 4 drama series following the lives of those on and behind the battlefront of World War I.
Meticulously based on unit war diaries and eyewitness accounts, each of these 42 episodes of Tommies traces one real day at war, exactly 100 years ago.
We follow the fortunes of Mickey Bliss and his fellow signallers from the Lahore Division of the British Indian Army as they experience life - and death - on the front line. Meanwhile, Dr Celestine de Tullio battles to save soldiers suffering from gas gangrene and trench fever - and experiences the fighting firsthand when she enlists in the Serbian Army and commands a dangerous offensive.
They are all cogs in an immense machine, one which connects situations across the whole theatre of the war, over four long years. Through their voices - and a host of others - we hear untold stories about the conflicts in Gaza, Gallipoli, Salonika, Serbia, Mesopotamia, Russia, Macedonia, Italy, Turkmenistan and Tanzania as well as on the Western Front.
Lee Ross, Pippa Nixon and Indira Varma are among the extensive cast of this gripping series, created by Jonathan Ruffle, who produced the acclaimed real-time radio dramatisation of Len Deighton’s Bomber. Based on actual historical records, it paints a vivid portrait of daily life for soldiers and their families during 1914-1918 and sheds new light on the reality of the Great War. Also included is a bonus behind-the-scenes feature about the making of Tommies.
New audio files added in November 2018.
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I thought this series was incredibly well done. However, I would add the caveat that it might not appeal to those with only a passing interest in World War One. For the history enthusiast so, Tommies is radio drama gold. From the mundane to the terrifying, Tommies gives you a glimpse inside the lives of the men and women who fought, bled, and died during those cataclysmic years. The sound effects alone make this a great listen. I particularly appreciated that it covered some of the forgotten fronts like Africa and the Middle East. If you enjoy reading (or listening to) stories about the First World War, then get this series without further delay.
I was so excited when I found "Tommies." I tried to finish, but I just couldn't. It's a great idea in theory, but it didn't translate for me. For starters, it's disjointed. There is an overhead narrator that keeps interjecting random storytelling ideas, like places, names, thoughts, while the characters are having conversations. It's like Scrooge when he is observing all the moments in his past, present, and future life in "A Christmas Carol." It's very distracting. Again, I wanted to really like this program, and I'm sure some will. It just wasn't for me.