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New factual drama, The Wipers Times, by Ian Hislop and Nick Newman


BBC Two has commissioned a new 90-minute history drama, ‘The Wipers Times’ by Ian Hislop and Nick Newman (A Bunch of Amateurs, My Dad’s The Prime Minister).

The Trademark Films production stars Ben Chaplin (London Boulevard, Me And Orson Welles, The New World), Michael Palin (Monty Python And The Holy Grail, Life of Brian), Julian Rhind-Tutt (The Hour, Green Wing), Steve Oram (Sightseers, Kill List) and Emilia Fox (Silent Witness, Merlin).

In the bombed-out ruins of Ypres in 1916, Captain Fred Roberts and Lieutenant Jack Pearson discovered a printing press. They used it to produce The Wipers Times – a humorous, satirical and subversive trench newspaper which proved hugely popular with soldiers – though not entirely with their superior officers.

Braving constant bombardment and bitter fighting, The Wipers Times survived the Somme and made it through to the end of the war. Roberts and Pearson were highly decorated – yet were unrecognised in their lifetime. The Wipers Times is a story of the extraordinary resilience of the human spirit in the face of overwhelming adversity.

The drama will be directed by Andy de Emmony (Love Bite, West Is West, The Bletchley Circle) and produced by David Parfitt (My Week With Marilyn, Parade’s End, Shakespeare In Love). The Executive Producer for the BBC is Martin Davidson and Ivan Mactaggart for Trademark.

Janice Hadlow, Controller of BBC Two and BBC Four, says: “Just like the original Wipers Times, this new history drama will be filled with jokes, spoofs and amazing examples of courage behind the laughs. I am delighted to be bringing such a brilliant drama and cast to BBC Two.”

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