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UK Television - Blitz, London's Firestorm

Blitz, London's Firestorm was broadcast here in England just before Christmas.

An exceptionally captivating story of a few individuals and families caught up in the greatest night of German bombing in the war, it followed these people and reenacted what happened to them on that day and night.

I thought it would be fiction but all the people were named and many of these people or their descendants told their story in the first person so it was closely based on fact.

Some of the filming was influenced by modern standards rather than those of the day - lights on vehicles rather than blackout and a few others - but it was very very well made. About 2 and a half hours of running time (including ads) so not a lightweight.

I hadn't seen it before so thought it was new until I read the credits and saw it was co-produced by PBS, and was from 2005. I guess that those old folks in the film have now passed on 16 years later.

Has anybody seen this film?

It resonates with me. My father's family were bombed out three times. Not in London but in Cheltenham on the edge of the Cotswolds. Being bombed out is the same either way though...

Posted by
4998 posts

Nigel, I can’t say that I’ve seen that program, but it must be riveting. Over the past 2 or 3 months, our local PBS stations (Denver, Colorado has two, and the upstart newer station is now celebrating its 40th anniversary) there have been a lot of older shows. Maybe that’s because filming/production for newer shows might’ve gotten shut down last spring?

There have been several Nature, Nova, and Frontline shows, stalwarts of PBS, from 2016, 2015, even 2009. Oldies but goodies, I guess. And there was an old, posthumous Sammy Davis, Jr. biography, that included lots of interviews with show-business personalities who knew him. Many of those people have also since died. That was a time capsule.

Living through The Blitz must’ve been horrific. I’m sure I can’t even imagine fully what people endured, and the destruction and death. I do recall John Lennon saying, no doubt a bit understatedly, that as a very young child in Liverpool, he’d been bombed by “Madolf Heatlump, but he didn’t get me.”

Posted by
25786 posts

I neglected to mention that two of the people were American.

Posted by
263 posts

Would love to see it. Hopefully it hits our local PBS station.

Posted by
2206 posts

If one can get past the concept of time-traveling historians studying the past I highly recommend Connie Willis's two volume book "Blackout" and "All Clear", set in London during the blitz, and ultimately covering the fire-bombing of St. Paul's. It is historical fiction, her research into the period and the presentation are fantastic.

Posted by
5318 posts

To those who enjoy shows from the UK, but find them far and few between here in the US, I suggest...if you have a Smart TV, checking out YouTube (The free app, not "YouTube TV", a pay service, though that would probably work as well).

I have been watching through any number of BBC historical Documentaries and shows, including years of Time Team episodes, great programs on the Canals of Britain, lots focused on the Royals and British History, it really goes on and on.

You could do the same on laptop...or your phone, but most are full quality TV versions, great on the TV.

This one on the Blitz obviously would not yet be on YouTube, but there are maybe a dozen others on the subject.