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The First Day

Series 1 - Episode 1 The First Day

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Review

The first-hand experience of the First World War has been well chronicled and mythologised: we think we have an idea of what it was like – from poems and films and museums. So it’s healthy for those ideas to be shaken up now and then, which is why this series uses the kind of immersive approach deployed in BBC3’s acclaimed doc series Our War to help dramatise key moments, in this case the first battle of the war, at Mons in Belgium.

The focus is kept tight. We join a company of Royal Fusiliers – the British Army’s crack riflemen – as they defend a single bridge over the Mons canal. Body-mounted cameras, map graphics and Saving Private Ryan-type fizzing bullets combine to make the action graphically powerful, while performances from the likes of Theo Barklem-Biggs (of Silk) convey the heroism of men who were the first to experience a new kind of war.

Summary

Drama based on the experiences of British soldiers during the First World War. In August 1914, 80,000 troops arrive in southern Belgium, including the 4th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers. Two companies of riflemen find themselves camping overnight at the Nimy Bridge, near Mons. However, they receive information that reveals the Germans may be closer than expected. Theo Barklem-Biggs and Dominic Thorburn star.

Cast & Crew

Sid Godley Theo Barklem-Biggs
Maurice Dease Dominic Thorburn
Fred Steele Jefferson Hall
Billy Holbrook Calum Callaghan
Charles Jarvis Brian Ferguson
Sapper Neary Sion Daniel Young
Neville Daniel Kendrick
Frank Frankie Wilson
Von Armin Julian Michael Deuster
Supply officer Stephen Leask
Director Bruce Goodison
Producer Susan Horth
Writer Joe Barton
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Drama