In the run up to Remembrance Day this year the BBC has made a new daytime series entitled Home Front Heroes.
The primary purpose of it is to celebrate the selfless contributions that thousands of men and women made on these shores towards Britain’s wartime victory effort. Five celebrities will talk about how some of their relatives were once involved.
In this first episode, the programme looked at the heavily bombed port city of Liverpool and in particular the story of its well-known TV actress Sue Johnston.
What we got throughout was an extremely moving, educational and informative forty-five minutes. In some respects it was reminiscent of that other history show on the Beeb, Who Do You Think You Are? However, it was considerably better than that though because the emotive testimony here made this show a lot more captivating and involving.
Firstly, we learned about medicine and in particular the nursing profession during the Second World War. We were told about Sue’s Aunt May, who was an auxiliary nurse at her local Whiston Hospital. Whiston Hospital specialising then in groundbreaking plastic surgery which has left a profound legacy to this very day.
Furthermore, it felt like a privilege to hear present day testimony from 102 year old former nurse Kathleen Thomas, about her experiences back then. It was emotively revealed to us how nurses on the home front still went about their medical duties even during enemy bombing raids. Liverpool being very significant here because it was the most bombed English city outside of London.
Later on in the programme, Sue emotionally talked about how her late father was an auxiliary firefighter during the Second World War. It truly is amazing just what such people did during these times. For instance, they would get home from their day jobs and then go out saving lives in their other official capacity.
It was good how the show continually linked the past to the present day. As well as hearing countless testimony from survivors of the Second World War, it was interesting to see Sue talk to two present day medical professionals and firefighters. They talked about the legacy and differences in their jobs since this war took place.
The only thing that really needs questioning with this series is the scheduling of it. It aired everyday in the mornings at 9.15am. Therefore, its target audience must be the older generation who are not at work or at school. This largely denies educating the younger generations about such history. It was easy and very accessible to understand and so feels like a bit of a wasted opportunity.
Overall, a really well made first episode. It did not over sensationalise or dramatise this period of history, which it so easily could have done much to its detriment. Programmes like this are what the BBC does best! 4/5.