Based on the remarkable true story of a satirical newspaper published on the front lines of World War One, this poignant yet comedic drama revels in the extraordinary resilience of the human spirit in the face of overwhelming adversity. Its 1916 and Captain Fred Roberts (Ben Chaplin), a diamond prospector-turned-soldier, leads a small detachment of British soldiers through the ruins of Ypres, whereupon he and his men make an amazing discovery in a bombed-out building an abandoned printing press. Roberts has an idea why not produce a newspaper? It may not be the most obvious course of action in the middle of a war zone, but Roberts is a natural leader who, despite two years of service, has maintained his sense of humour and sees this as an opportunity to take his mens minds off the attentions of Messrs Hun and Co. They call it The Wipers Times after the army slang for Ypres and fill it with spoofs, jokes and subversive comedy in an effort to raise the soldiers spirits. The newspaper proves a hit with the troops on the Western Front, however, its production and circulation is fraught with peril in the face of wartime horrors. Its penchant for lampooning the top brass also incurs the wrath of the humourless Lieutenant-General Howfield (Ben Daniels) who wants it banned. With the benevolent General Mitford (Michael Palin) on his side, can Roberts comic distraction to the mayhem of war survive? The drama is interspersed with real-life events, such as Roberts brief chance encounter with Churchill, along with fantasy sequences reflecting Roberts vivid imagination. Written by Ian Hislop and Nick Newman, The Wipers Times tells for the first time how these inspirational men used humour and wit to remain sane amidst one of the deadliest conflicts in modern history.
The Wipers Times
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Ben Chaplin, Ben Daniels, Colin Ash, Emilia Fox, Emma Little, Faolan Morgan, Hugh Skinner, Jarrod Cooke, Josh O'Connor, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Michael Palin, Patrick Fitzsymons, Paul Kennedy, Richard Doubleday, Steve Oram