TV Highlights

Vimy Ridge: Heaven to Hell

Yesterday - 9pm

Who's in it?

You know who was really, really important in the First World War? The Canadians, that's who. Experts in the carnage of that titanic conflict reveal all in this thrilling documentary.

In a nutshell

Canada doesn't really get enough credit. Example: remember Argo, the Ben Affleck film about the Iranian hostage crisis? It sort of massively left out the crucial role Canada played in the big gung-ho rescue plan. Here's another example: World War One. Canadian soldiers played an integral role in fighting the German forces, but you'd be hard pressed to see many reminders of this in the mythology that now shrouds the war.

This programme will put that right, throwing us into the mud and blood of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. This skirmish took place in France in 1917, and was a major turning point of WW1. Four divisions of the Canadian Corps fought with uncommon, frankly spectacular bravery and brilliance – no fewer than four soldiers were awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest possible military honour. What strategies led to their success, and what price did they pay for their triumph? The battle plans will now be laid bare.

What's the verdict?

Many of us reckon we know the basics about this war, but – in the centenary year – here comes a programme packed with fresh revelations. Turns out we owe Canadians thanks for far more than just maple syrup and Jim Carrey.

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07-07-2011