Wednesday 17 August 2011


Did anyone else see the documentary Surviving Hitler: A Love Story on BBC4 last night? The story of the love affair between a half-Jewish girl and a young soldier involved in the Valkyrie assassination plot, I found it completely riveting (and it takes a lot to rivet a mental gadabout like me). Indeed I'd say it was one of the most remarkable documentaries I've seen in a long time. Partly this was because the then teenager, Jutta Cords, was still alive to tell the amazing tale - and tell it calmly, engagingly and well - but also because so much of her family life and her time with the soldier, Helmuth, was preserved in photographs and informal cine footage. The delicate way this footage was edited into the story, so that it exactly matched the action and intensified the emotion was quite brilliant (great work by director John Keith Wasson), the gradual revelation of the story was perfectly paced, and the overall effect of the film was, as I say, quite riveting.
There is talk in the air of cutting back on BBC4's content, as part of the BBC's cost-cutting proposals. I can only hope this is a ruse designed to spark a mighty backlash and lead to a hasty reversal (as with BBC 6 Music). BBC4, after all, is most of the time the only BBC TV channel worth looking at.
(By the way, if you missed it, Surviving Hitler should be on the BBC iPlayer.)


  1. Agree with everything you say, Nige. Wasn't she an elegant lady as well? There was a steely spine under that graceful exterior.

  2. Indeed so, Recusant - pure steel.

  3. This will not truly have success, I consider so.