‘Blackadder can be useful tool for studying First World War’

Michael Hallett
Michael Hallett

TV shows such as Blackadder can be a useful learning tool provided they are challenged, according to a Boston history graduate.

Former Boston Grammar School pupil Michael Hallett, who is behind plans for the Boston Great War Commemoration this summer, has spoken out about the row over the teaching of the 1914-18 conflict.

The Education Secretary Michael Gove has said shows such as Blackadder and musical Oh What A Lovely War! have created ‘misunderstandings’ about a conflict portrayed as being riddled with mistakes by an ‘out of touch’ command.

Mr Hallett is trying to encourage schools to take part in his project – centring on a four-day programme for the first weekend of August.

Mr Hallett does not believe TV, film and shows are bad provided they are placed in context and people are taught the facts too.

He said: “I personally like Blackadder – it is quite an informative comedy. There is quite a heavy dose of the view that all the officers didn’t care.

“However many of the officers came from the same area as their men and cared quite a lot.

“In some ways I can see what Gove is saying because it portrays officers in one way but what Blackadder and Oh What A Lovely War! can do is bring the subject to life.

“History is a subject where we always have to question everything.”

Mr Hallett has arranged with the cadets to use the Drill Hall for his programme of events to commemorate the start of the First World War.

He has also arranged a series of lectures and now hopes to get in touch with teachers who can take part – with a series of ‘hands on’ activities that can be taken into classrooms.

He also wants to hear from members of Boston’s different foreign communities to tell the stories of their countries too and for people who can help with the paperwork to fill in applications for grant funding to help pay for this summer’s project.

To get in touch email historywithhallett@gmail.com