37 Starts To Reveal Itself
A NEW factual drama reveals the conflicts that ledto the beginning of the First World War…
The assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand on June 28, 1914, led to a chain of events that would bring about the outbreak of the First World War. In the weeks that followed the killing in Bosnia’s capital, Sarajevo, Europe would be drawn into the conflict that would have a catastrophic effect around the globe.
As part of a series of programmes by the BBC to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War, the three-part factual drama, 37 Days, will explore the complex political climate of the period between Franz Ferdinand’s death and Britain’s declaration of war on Germany on August 4.
“How did the European nations come to blows just 37 days after the assassination of Franz Ferdinand? That’s the question this political drama seeks to address,” explains the drama’s writer Mark Hayhurst.
The drama seeks to reveal just what went on in the corridors of power and shows the unfolding events of 1914 through the eyes of some of the key political players of the time.
And it boasts an impressive cast, including Tim Pigott-Smith as Prime Minister Herbert Henry Asquith, Sinead Cusack as his wife, Margot, Ian McDiarmid as Foreign Secretary Edward Grey, Bill Paterson as Lord John Morley, Kenneth Cranham as President of the Board of Trade John Burns, Mark Lewis Jones as Asquith’s successor, David Lloyd George and Nicholas Asbury as Winston Churchill. They were given the task of performing the long, passionate speeches and powerful scenes of 37 Days, which director Justin Hardy hopes will have a profound impact on viewers and offer an understanding of what triggered the war.
“This is not the traditional language of TV,” says Justin. “Mark has not pandered to the sound-bite generation, but written dialogue between people who cared about the power of argument, of persuasiveness.”
“This was a script made for actors,” he continues. “Sure enough, Lou Cross, our casting director, was not surprised when we reeled in one great stage actor after another. We didn’t have the financial clout the drama department might have given us, but with a cast like this you wouldn’t notice.” Video by The Justine