Love and Marriage: A 20th Century Romance

For Better, For Worse

Series 1 - Episode 1 For Better, For Worse



This warm and involving oral history series interweaves apt archive with pithy, often touching reminiscence. It’s the kind of thing BBC4 does in its sleep, but the lively contributions make it a cut above.

The first of three films whisks us from the early 1900s to the 50s, and shows how the institution of marriage withstood batterings from world wars, crippling poverty and economic chaos.

Twinkly George Louth is especially engaging. He narrowly survived the horrors of the Somme and was discharged with shellshock to work on the land in Dorset. At the age of 20 he fell in love with the daughter of his landlady and they married on 11 November 1918, which turned out to be Armistice Day. “As we came out we saw all the flags flying. We thought it was for us!”

Among others adding to the rich stockpile of stories are agony aunt Denise Robertson and author Diana Athill, who speaks amusingly and movingly of the turmoil in her parents’ lives.


Documentary examining the ups and downs of marriage from the 1900s to the present day, using personal stories of couples and their children. In this edition, 107-year-old Hetty Bower, Britain's oldest peace campaigner, discusses her own experience of matrimony, and agony aunt Denise Robertson recalls how her parents remained passionately in love despite losing everything in the economic crash of the 1930s.