Sunday, May 22, 2011

Greater love hath no man...

...than to lay down his life for a friend. A line from war memorials across Australia. And the theme of the 1985 television series The ANZACS.

The notions of mateship and the ANZAC legend have been abused by Australian politicians since the 80s. So I was a bit suspicious that this was going to be cringeworthy. I'd also heard that it stuck the boot into the British high command - but while it seemed a tad like caricature at times, it was for the most part accurate (well, from what I do know of WW1 which isn't exactly my specialty) particularly the attitude of the British to the Australians at the battle for Pozieres. Actually, from an historical perspective, this was pretty accurate, as you'd expect with well known historian Patsy Adam Smith on board. Even the sillier episodes, such as the American troops stealing Australian uniforms to fight on July 4 - true!

I was expecting the larrikinism and lack of respect for authority to be overplayed. But it was a bit like hanging out with my grandad - that's the grandad who punched out his commanding officer in Signals Intelligence, not the grandad who used to go fishing with hand grenades while stationed in Darwin. So I found this series very entertaining and, by the time you get to Binyon's Ode at the end, moving.

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