The Wipers Times

The Wipers Times


Ian Hislop and Nick Newman have written a sad, funny, inspiring tribute to the wartime pamphlet of the title. The Wipers Times was a spoof newspaper created in Ypres in 1916 by British Army officers for whom gallows humour was the only sane response to the trenches. It included satirical swipes at the general staff as well as fake adverts, advice on how to cure optimism, poetry, puns, and a general silliness that was thoroughly Pythonesque long before its time. (Fittingly, Michael Palin has a cameo here.)

Skits from the paper are acted out as surreal sketches but the best scenes revolve around the trenches repartee between Ben Chaplin and Julian Rhind-Tutt, who make a wonderfully deadpan double act as Captain Fred Roberts and Lieutenant Jack Pearson. They decide to produce the newspaper after stumbling on an abandoned printing press and continue in the teeth of opposition from an uptight colonel.

Chaplin conveys brilliantly a man for whom bone-dry humour and a very British sang-froid go hand in muddy hand: it’s a lovely, subtle portrayal of a comedy hero.


In the bombed-out ruins of the Belgian town of Ypres in 1916, Captain Fred Roberts and Lieutenant Jack Pearson discover a printing press and decide to start a satirical newspaper to raise the spirits of the British troops. It proves hugely popular with the men in the trenches - but their superior officers see it as an act of insubordination and subversion and call for a ban. Feature-length factual drama by Ian Hislop and Nick Newman, starring Ben Chaplin, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Michael Palin and Emilia Fox.

Cast & Crew

Fred Roberts Ben Chaplin
Jack Pearson Julian Rhind-Tutt
General Mitford Michael Palin
Lt Col Howfield Ben Daniels
Kate Roberts Emilia Fox
Harris Steve Oram
Barnes Hugh Skinner
Dodd Josh O'Connor
Henderson Jarrod Cooke
Smith Colin Ash
ADC Bobby Richard Doubleday
Churchill Paul Kennedy
Field nurse Emma Little
Chaplain Faolan Morgan
Director Andy de Emmony
Producer David Parfitt
Writer Ian Hislop
Writer Nick Newman
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