UWE Bristol historians advise BBC's World War One at Home project

Issue date: 27 February 2014

World War One at Home started on Monday February 24 in the West, and began broadcasting the first of 100 stories on BBC Radio Bristol, BBC Radio Gloucestershire, BBC Wiltshire and BBC Somerset, BBC Points West and on the BBC's dedicated World War One website.

The BBC series tells the story of the First World War through the people whose lives were transformed – for example in their homes, schools, churches, theatres, streets and factories. The stories are being broadcast on the regional BBC radio stations, with tales and events specific to that region.

The series of programmes, which are a UK-wide project and will broadcast over a thousand powerful stories throughout 2014 and 2015, were completed with the help of UWE Bristol historians Kent Fedorowich and Charles Booth. The two university lecturers were appointed as national advisers by the BBC and Arts Humanities Research Council, to support the research, when World War One at Home was initially announced as part of the BBC's programming to mark the centenary of The Great War. In this capacity the UWE Bristol academics have toured England and the Celtic nations proffering advice, support and encouragement to both the historical advisory teams and the BBC production teams.

Kent Fedorowich, Reader in British Imperial History at UWE Bristol, says, “The past few months have been extremely interesting. We have met a number of very interesting and creative people from all over the United Kingdom. The stories that the journalists in each of the regions have unearthed have been amazing. Even issues such as the treatment of conscientious objectors, which is well known by most people, have been looked at from new angles, adding a richness and variety to these often familiar subjects.”

Charles Booth, Associate Professor at the Bristol Business School, added, “Working with the BBC has provided us with interesting insights, not just simply about the BBC as an organisation but also how we would like to continue working with them as the commemoration of the First World War continues. Equally important, the project has expanded our research capacities, uncovered new and hitherto unknown local and regional sources of material which, in turn, has enhanced our own research and enriched our teaching.”

In the West, BBC Radio Bristol, BBC Somerset, BBC Wiltshire and BBC Radio Gloucestershire broadcast a World War One At Home story at 8.15am each weekday morning, and at various times throughout the day.

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