fri 09/12/2016

First Light, BBC Two | reviews, news & interviews

First Light, BBC Two

First Light, BBC Two

A very fine Spitfire drama takes to the skies

Reach for the sky: Sam Heughan as Geoffrey Wellum prepares to intercept Battle of Britain cliches
How do you rescue a drama about Spitfire pilots from over half a century of cliché and pastiche, from Kenneth More in Reach for the Sky to Armstrong and Miller’s street-talking RAF officers? After all, put an actor in a flying jacket and a cravat, get him to smoke a pipe and read the paper as he awaits the call to scramble, and you’ve got a 24-carat stereotype. The answer, as the wholly admirable First Light illustrates, is to go back to basics – to find the authentic details amidst the stock scenarios, and the emotional truth behind the stiff upper lips.

You can’t imagine Kenneth More’s Douglas Bader exclaiming, “Shit... fuck... fuck... get off!” as he is pursued by a Messerschmitt 109

Share this article

Comments

First Light, the best BBC programme in years Terrific. Can you tell me the name of the piece of choral background music and the composer. I think it was towards the end of the programme.

Robert, the composer is Gabriel Currington. He has his own site: www.gcscores.com. We are hoping to get a full list of credits on our site.

an amazing programme more people should watch this to realise what The Battle of Britain was actually like, well done to the bbc and everyone else involved will definately be buying this when it comes out! R.I.P to all the people who gave their lives(and who had them taken) for our way of life, Freedom

I must say I thought this was exceptionally good. The sheer terror of air combat was brought home more vividly than I can remember, as well as the gradual and remorseless psychological impact on the pilots involved. All this was underlined by the words of Geoffrey Wellum himself. I hope there will be a DVD release, perhaps with some extras such as an extended interview with Mr.Wellum and perhaps more background on the Battle of Britain.

Excellent programme. I too wondred what the choral piece was - been nagging at me... sounded Holst-esque and vaguely familiar - what was it please?

This was one of the best programmes I have seen for many years.It should be included in the national curriculum to remind young Boys and Girls that as in Afghanistan today ,the real heroes are not the Wayne Rooney's ,Ashley Cole or any other overpaid and pampered footballer.We should never forget the sacrifice these Men and Women made to keep our freedom and liberty

I would just like to thank everybody for their kind comments about First Light - and to you, Gerard, for such an intelligent take on my film. Matthew Whiteman, writer, producer and director, 'First Light'

Some fans of Outlander, Sam Heughan and Gary Lewis will be doing a live tweet of First Light on 14 Sep at 12:30pm US east coast time. Basically, it's a bunch of fans watching the movie at the same time and commenting on twitter. Should you be interested in participating, we welcome your comments and thoughts. You can find comments under #HHTwitParty (Heughan's Heughligans Twitter Party). Here is a link to the countdown clock for the "event" http://www.timeanddate.com/countdown/generic?iso=20130914T1230&p0=212&ms.... Thank you for creating this fine piece of storytelling! -Jenny (@JennyC10VA)

I would like to obtain the words to the poem recited at the end of the movie. I have been unsuccessful to date as the movie has not yet been released on DVD in Australia.

Add comment

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £2.95 per month or £25 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters