bbc four

bbc four

The Poet Who Loved the War: Ivor Gurney

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Broadcast on BBC Four 30/03/2014 Director of Photography: Ryan Owen Eddleston "This arts film with dramatised sequences looks at the life of the poet and composer Ivor Gurney. A charismatic original, Gurney, who prior to the Great War had suffered a nervous breakdown at the Royal College of Music, enlisted as an experiment, he actually found the war invigorating, for a while his mental health improved. He wrote about the absurdity of war, boredom and the fickle hand of fate. Ivor Gurney however wasn't just a poet, he was also an accomplished composer who wrote four widely-regarded masterpieces while under artillery fire in the trenches. And then, unlike the other war poets Gurney wasn't a commissioned officer, he was an ordinary front-line soldier. A private. Ivor Gurney is played by Robin Willingham. Filming took place in France, Belgium, Gloucestershire & Wales during the summer 2013. The film was scripted and directed by Clive Flowers. Presented by Professor Tim Kendall from the University of Exeter. Director of Photography: Ryan Owen Eddleston Editor: Madoc Roberts. Exec. Producer: Mike Poole" Documentary presented by writer Tim Kendall which tells the remarkable story of the First World War soldier-poet who broke all the rules. Ivor Gurney wasn't an officer but a private who bizarrely joined up in the hope that the ordered army life would help ease a mental health condition. Initially this shock therapy 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. Gurney was also an accomplished composer and all the music used in the film is his, some of it hauntingly written on the Western Front.