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  1. #1
    Senior Member Country: England mrs_emma_peel's Avatar
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    The Real Great Escape
    BBC4 ... Thursday 19th April 2012 ... 9.00-10.25pm

    Not to be confused with documentaries of similar titles ... this is a brand new, 85 minute, extensively detailed BBC4 documentary on the great escape told by Lindy Wilson, the niece of 'Big X' ... Squadron Leader Roger Bushell. Bushell was played by Richard Attenborough in the classic John Sturges movie The Great Escape.

    For the first time on British television the true story of the mastermind behind World War II's Great Escape is told by his niece, Lindy Wilson, who also directed this new BBC4 documentary.

    Squadron Leader Roger Bushell was a young London barrister, an auxiliary pilot and a champion skier when he was shot down and captured early in the war. He escaped three times and in spite of the Gestapo's threat to shoot him if he ever escaped again, Bushell accepted the role of 'Big X' on his return to the top-security POW camp, Stalag Luft 111.

    After 18 months of preparation, one of the greatest escapes of the war took place. Their aim to distract the enemy succeeded, as it was estimated that five million Germans were deployed to recapture the 76 escapees. However, Hitler's rage was uncontrollable and he personally ordered a terrible reckoning.

    Director: Lindy Wilson
    Sources: BBC4 Newsletter/Radio Times/DigiGuide

    I think this will be a fascinating, detailed new documentary ... I'm looking forward to it.
    Emma

  2. #2
    Senior Member Country: Ireland Edward G's Avatar
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    Thanks for the nod, Mrs Peel.
    Sounds like another promising documentary on the war from BBC4.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Country: England mrs_emma_peel's Avatar
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    Superb documentary … so much new information on Roger Bushell who came so desperately close to escaping three times. Excellent film clip selections from The Great Escape and Operation Daybreak on the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich - the Butcher of Prague.

    Bushell came across as almost a James Bond type in character - charismatic leader, champion skier, he regarded danger as part of his duty, and despite being engaged - seduced a voluptuous blonde Czech girl, whose ex-boyfriend betrayed Bushell to the Gestapo.

    Interesting to hear that Richard Attenborough didn’t think he was right for the part as Big X ... I thought he was splendid in the role, yet after seeing this documentary perhaps Richard Burton may have been a more accurate choice.

    Repeated Tuesday, 24th April 2012 … 11.50-1.15am
    I was absolutely fascinated and enthralled - and thoroughly recommend this very impressive, very fine BBC4 documentary - part of the excellent Storyville series.

    Emma

  4. #4
    Senior Member Country: UK
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    Sad to see so many contributors had died during filming. In particular M.R.D.Foot who was always one of my favourite history professors and always gave an entertaining version of events on both screen and book.
    Last edited by Nick Dando; 21-04-12 at 03:40 PM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Country: England billy farmer's Avatar
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Country: England billy farmer's Avatar
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    I finally watched the above Documentary this afternoon (while transferring it from vhs to DVD), i found it to be a very interesting Documentary, lots of fascinating new details that i had never heard before, the second world war is a period of history i have always been interested in and i always enjoy watching Documentaries about the second world war, i have heard many sad and tragic tales in lots of different Documentaries about the second world war, but i have also heard many tales of triumph as well.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Country: England billy farmer's Avatar
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    A Book that will interest anyone who is interested in learning more about Roger Bushell - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Great-Escape...37/ref=sr_1_1?

  8. #8
    Senior Member Country: UK
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    Bushell is a facinating character, but I've always been interested in T D Calman http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_D._Calnan. I went through a phase of reading every POW book under the sun when I was in my teens, and his book, Free As a Running Fox, stood out. It was very honest (no false heroics), very well written, was the work of a man who had thought seriously about escape before being shot down, and by a man who had a grownup view of escaping. It wasn't a jaunt, it was serious (he was 26 when shoot down, so was rather old and more worldly than the average), and his close shave later in the war caught while using MI9 papers showed how dangerous it was.

    He was security officer for one major escape, was involved in the break from Stalag Luft III and played a part in an escape from Sagan (?) which was known as the SHJ (the initals come from the fact that the tunnel was built staring from the pit of the latrine - House and Job are also parts of the name!) - an escape which deserves a documentary, if nothing else. Even his final journey from the Russian liberated camp to western lines was dangerous, yet you could see why he and an Australian POW did it. Its rather a shame that so little is known about him, but since he only wrote one book, its all that we have. I've seen no obit, but he would be 98, so hopefully someone will interview him so he can tell his story in more detail.

    Free As A Running Fox
    was published in 1970 (I have a paperback copy) http://www.amazon.co.uk/Free-as-Runn.../dp/0803727496, and is a classic of the genre.

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