Friday, 17 March 2017

Happy 100th Birthday Dame Vera Lynn

A retrospective on Dame Vera’s major milestone

Written by Ben Felsenburg
Happy 100th Birthday Dame Vera Lynn (Saturday, BBC2, 9pm) is a joyous celebration of the woman whose soaring voice gave us hope during the nation’s darkest hour. But Ben-Felsenburg-colour-176as Dame Vera is joined by her daughter Virginia for a trip far down memory lane, it’s also proof of the humour and humility that made her the most deserving of stars.

What does the great Dame think as she looks at photos and film footage of herself during the war, more than 70 years ago? ‘How slim I was!’ she quips. It’s up to others to celebrate her brilliance. Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Tim Rice and Miriam Margolyes are among those adding their voices to the chorus of effusive praise, but perhaps the neatest turn of phrase comes from Dame Edna Everage creator Barry Humphries: ‘she made patriotism sexy.’

It’s a view backed up by the pictures of the singer in her early twenties posing in a snazzy hat besides her Austin 10, and cutting a stunning figure in khaki when she ventured out to Burma to serenade Britain’s soldiers. It was a destination that no entertainer had braved before her during the war, but with characteristic phlegmatism, Dame Vera remembers not the perils and privations, but simply that she learnt how make-up and a perm don’t suit the jungle. Watch and your admiration and liking for Dame Vera will only be enhanced. As McCartney says, ‘she’s like a family member, even though you’ve never met.’



SCRUFFTS (Friday, Channel 4, 8pm)
Forget the pure elites as six finalists drawn from more than a thousand canine entrants compete for the title of Britain’s Favourite Family Crossbreed Dog.

VERA (Sunday, ITV, 8pm)
Brenda Blethyn is back as bad-tempered DCI Vera Stanhope for a new four-part series, starting with the case of a woman found murdered on a remote island.

THREE WIVES, ONE HUSBAND (Thursday, Channel 4, 9pm)
The incredible privates lives of a Mormon community in Utah are revealed in this eye-opening documentary series.

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