TV Highlights

What was on Thursday 26th February

Day after D-Day

Discover History - 8pm

Who's in it?

Seven decades on from D-Day, this long and fascinating film went over the assault in forensic detail, with insights from historians and the veterans who crossed that kill zone in 1945.

In a nutshell

Thanks to films like Saving Private Ryan, even the most historically illiterate dolt knows that D-Day was a nightmarish whirlwind of bullets and blood, which saw Allied soldiers massacred by German bullets before they'd even got out of their boats. But what was it really, REALLY like to be in amid the maelstrom? And, just as crucially, what happened in the hours following the initial assault? Clue: it didn’t involve a soppily feel-good mission to rescue one soldier.

No, this rivetingly unsentimental and serious film analysed the 72 hours after the invasion, recounted by the men who struggled past the brutal beaches to get amid the villages and bushes of Normandy. Their steps were painstakingly retraced, and some particularly poignant scenes actually followed veterans as they returned to the very spots where their friends fought and died. It was a reminder of just how other-worldly the carnage was.

What's the verdict?

A celebration of bravery in the face of hellish odds, this was another reminder – like we needed it – that these soldiers really did comprise the "Greatest Generation".

Star rating: 5/5

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