Friday, 28 August 2015


A new series challenges our view of La Résistance

Written by Ben Felsenburg
Ben-Felsenburg-colour-176Truth be told, there has long been a certain note of scepticism on this side of the Channel regarding the French war effort. Witness the contrast between Dad’s Army and ’Allo ’Allo!: while the jokes about Captain Mainwaring and his men are always in a spirit of affectionate respect, the daily perils faced by the Maquis have been reduced to a farcical cartoon, as if their ranks were so meagre that they deserved no more.

A very traditional drama from French television, Resistance (Friday, More4, 9pm) doesn’t break new ground, but tackles its familiar tale with such earnest intensity that we should be persuaded to think again about the terrible plight of a country under enemy rule. The story begins in November 1940: France is reeling in shock at the ease with which its defences have been overrun. It falls to a courageous band to battle for la liberté.

The Nazis are bad enough; worse are the collaborators who have so gleefully fallen into line to betray their fellow countrymen. Gestapo or gendarmerie, the bad guys are easily distinguished by their tendency to operate only in buttoned-up coats and fullbrimmed hats. The good guys are for the most part no more than kids, but fired up with a fury and courage far beyond their years. Fanny Ardant brings up the rear for elegant and right-thinking aristocracy as a countess who will not brook ‘the Hun polluting France’.



Queens Of Jazz: The Joy And Pain Of The Jazz Divas Fri, BBC4, 9.45pm
Nina, Ella and Billie: a look at the singers whose turbulent lives yielded lasting greatness.

The X Factor Sat, ITV, 8pm
Rita Ora and DJ Nick Grimshaw freshen up the judging panel as the guilty pleasure of Saturday nights returns.

Danny And The Human Zoo Mon, BBC1, 9pm
Written by and costarring Sir Lenny Henry, this inspirational drama is based on his Midlands childhood.

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