“A history book brought to life in the most arresting way”
Shown on the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, Peter Jackson’s They Shall Not Grow Old was described by one judge as a “history book brought to life in the most arresting way” that should be everyone’s “duty” to watch.
Many viewers had already made that choice on 11 November 2018 when the two-hour documentary was watched by 3.9 million (19%), just under four times the average 9.30pm BBC Two audience share of 5%.
The project came into being following conversations between the BBC, World War I centenary arts commission 1418 NOW, the Imperial War Museums and The Lord Of The Rings director Jackson – the latter had a knowledge and passion for World War I.
From there, Jackson led his team to trawl through nearly 200 hours of archive film and 600 hours of audio sourced from the Imperial War Museums and the BBC to shape the project, which one judge described as a “labour of love”.
The film from the archive was cleaned up and coloured. Then the audio and images were stabilised and retimed before a soundtrack was added to create a narrative that was coherent and compelling.
In the words of one judge, the programme was a “great example of commissioning a piece of work that the audience loved and appreciated”, adding: “This is why we pay for the BBC.”
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Award sponsored by IMG Studios