DMU historian's unique WW1 study helps shape BBC script

An historian from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) has been called in by the BBC to help craft the story of a First World War drama series aired on Radio 4.

The writers of Home Front, a unique drama which tells the story of daily life in Britain during the Great War, were looking to create a new storyline exploring attitudes towards Germans living in the UK during the conflict.

Panayi main

And during the early part of their research for the programme they discovered that the most authoritative work on the subject had been carried out by Panikos Panayi, Professor of European History at DMU.

Having consulted Professor Panayi's landmark 1991 study Enemy in Our Midst, which grew from his PhD on the subject, the writers decided they wanted to talk in person to the DMU academic.

Professor Panayi said: "They invited me in to sit in on a script writers' meeting and I found out that they had read my research.

"They asked me a series of questions about the way Germans were treated in Britain at the time.

"The truth is perhaps less palatable than many people want to think and my research showed that Germans were persecuted and it really expressed an ugly side to patriotism."

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Home Front is Radio 4's novel drama looking at life in Britain during the war. There is a new episode every weekday, which covers the exact same day 100 years ago, furthering the lives and plight of its group of characters; telling, over four years, the story of the conflict.

Each 11-minute episode of Home Front is broadcast each weekday just after 12pm.

But the show is not the first high-profile creation to draw on Professor Panayi's research. Booker-Prize winning author Pat Barker included The Enemy in Our Midst in her bibliography for her 2007 novel Life Class.

Professor Panayi said: "I think my work has withstood the test of time because of the depth of research I poured into it. I look at it now and can see it is a high quality piece of work."

 

Posted on Wednesday 31st August 2016

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