War of Words: Soldier Poets of the Somme – Broadcast Scrapbook

I wanted to write some stuff about this programme sooner, but the events previously documented in this blog (which all began on the afternoon of broadcast) meant it’s taken me some time to take stock and collect all the things that happened as a result of the show going out.

As I have mentioned before, “War of Words: The Soldier Poets of the Somme” was a 90 minute BBC Arts documentary, directed by Sebastian Barfield that sought to reconnect the history and the landscape of the notorious 1916 Battle of the Somme with the extraordinary poetry and literature that it inspired. At BDH we created content graphics to help illustrate the history and also animations (which I was involved with) to accompany the poetry. We had a great team on the job, and working on it was a moving and wonderful experience.

This post is partly a scrapbook for my purposes to collect some of the information, posts and reactions that went out on social media, in a Storify style, so I might be updating it as and when I come across more of them. Also be warned, this post is mostly embeds from Twitter, so if you are reading this on anything else that the actual webpage they might format weirdly.

You can see a clip from the show via the BBC here, this part concerns the removal of lice eggs from clothing and Isaac Rosenberg’s Louse Hunting.

There was a preview screening of the programme at the Watershed on the 5th November. Afterwards Peter Barton, Jean Moorcroft Wilson, Sebastian Barfield, Jeremy Banning and Richard Van Emden discussed the programme, the poets and how they shaped the way people remember the Great War. That discussion is available to hear on Soundcloud here:(direct link).

Sebastien Barfield wrote some words on the BBC blog about the show.

This is a link to a discussion of the programme on Military History Online, quite fascinating in itself.

“The Somme In Seven Poems” was a short that BDH produced which anthologised just the poetry animations themselves. That went onto the iPlayer a week before the broadcast, and got some lovely responses from people, especially on Remembrance Day.

Here is a trailer BDH produced for the short.

Obviously in the modern age, people can watch the show at anytime once it goes on the iPlayer so these tweets are not really in chronological order. I just went through the hashtags and search options retrospectively and grabbed some of the most interesting ones.

The whole programme has been taken down from the iPlayer now but I have heard bits are on YouTube somewhere, you’ll have to search for that yourself, if you feel so inclined.

BDH have produce a VR app that contains the animation for The Kiss one of the poems featured on the show. This works on Google Cardboard and is available on Google Play and iTunes.