This weekend, a highlight of the TV listings is The Poet who Loved the War: Ivor Gurney, which airs at 9pm on Sunday night on BBC4 and will be available on iPlayer shortly after. The documentary tells the story of the First World War soldier-poet who bizarrely joined up in the hope that the ordered army life would help ease a mental health condition. Initially this worked, but he was eventually shot and gassed and spent the last 15 years of his life in an asylum. Yet the poetry he wrote there is uniquely powerful – capturing the experience of the ordinary soldier – and the film argues that it is the equal of the work of any of the more well-known soldier-poets of WWI.
Ahead of the broadcast, Professor Tim Kendall who presents the new documentary has spoken to the AHRC about the research behind the film, and the genesis of the documentary at an AHRC/BBC workshop.