Did we like it?
This was a decent documentary broadly focusing on the Falklands War. Ably fronted by the likeable Carol Thatcher, it stuck to its premise and did not become too bogged down in the well-worn arguments about the conflict. Emotional and very interesting.
What was good about it?
• It started with a few shots of Carol readying herself to travel to the Falklands. Immediately, we were reintroduced to this intelligent, immensely amiable figure and were able to admire her stunning sofa – red with different coloured figures of humans playing on the back of it.
• The first shots of the Falklands itself – it’s 8000 miles away, just 2000 people live there and it’s this strange, windswept land, covered with garden gnomes, British flags and people wearing Newcastle Utd t-shirts.
• The alarming fact that there are still minefields on beaches in the Falklands.
• Carol’s infectious personality was ably demonstrated as she drank with the Falklands forces and gamely joined in as they encouraged her to down her glass of wine.
• The stark fact that when Argentina attacked, the Islands were only defended by less than 70 marines and about 30 of the home guard.
• The fascinating memories of soldiers such as Gary Clement, who stayed on the Islands after the conflict. His reminiscences were always informed and honest, particularly when he admitted his relief that when he dived to protect himself from bombs, someone else dived on top of him, giving him added safety.
• The story of local farmer ‘Task Force’ Trudy Morrison’s admirable work in helping the British troops navigate the Falklands terrain in the dark.
• It was particularly pleasing that the programme did not become too embroiled witht he rights and wrongs of the conflict – rather it was a study as to how the conflict itself is remembered in the Falklands and Argentina.
• The sign that greeted Carol when she arrived to a hostile reception in Argentina: “You are non-pleasing person”. Very polite.
• Carol’s bravery in meeting not only Argentine veterans of the war, but also the mothers of some men who were killed on the Belgrano.
What was bad about it?
• The stupid title. Well done Channel 4. This was an honest, interesting programme sadly undermined by that childish, sneering title.
• Carol’s reaction to the mothers of the soldiers killed on the Belgrano was a little harsh. She was being honest and was keen to fight her corner, but a little more sympathy might have been advisable.
• Because of her belligerence with the mothers, Carol ended up losing the argument. She said that Argentina invaded first. But there’s no doubt that it was Britain that invaded – a tiny group of islands 8000 miles from home, it has to be remembered – first, and it’s irrelevant how long ago that was. By resorting to ‘who invaded first’ arguments, she was always going to lose.