Jeremy Paxman Calls The Showing of ‘Blackadder’ to Teach Students About WWI, “Plain Stupid”


Journalist and broadcaster, Jeremy Paxman, calls the teaching of World War 1 by showing episodes of Blackadder Goes Forth “plain stupid”.

When he spoke at the Cheltenham Literate Festival, he stated that poetry and television had created a type of “prism” in which theories about incompetent military generals were generally accepted. To Paxman, this practice is “just wrong”.

Paxman has penned a book in which explained the thoughts and motivations from some people who had lived through those times. He wanted to clarify that there were both honorable and not-so-honorable dealings during the war.

To Paxman he wanted to reexamine what the military thought they were doing at the time.

He added, “The assumption seems to be that somehow the war was lost, that it was all pointless sacrifice; that somehow that all of these lives were lost for no purpose.”

Paxman theorizes that the reason why Blackadder has been widely accepted as truth by the younger generation was a result of using artistic values and the imagination of others.

Paxman’s book is called “Great Britain’s Great War: A Sympathetic History of Our Gravest Folly.” and is available
“I think we have become accustomed to seeing the First World War as poetry rather than history.

“It’s actually quite difficult to comprehend from our perspective why so many people could have kept faith with this enterprise.”

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Evette Champion

Evette Champion is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE