Michael Palin, Monty Python legend and longtime TV adventurer, returns to the small screen and his comedy acting roots in the World War One drama The Wipers Times this Wednesday on BBC2. The one-off special tells the uplifting and true tale of a group of British soldiers who stumble across an abandoned printing press in 1916 and decide to have a little fun in the misery of war by publishing their own satirical newspaper using both black humor and satirical swipes at allies and enemies.
For some reason, I fully expect Baldrick to turn up at some point and can’t help but think of the never to be equaled final scene in Blackadder Goes Forth.
The Wipers Times was named after a general inability to pronounce Ypres, the Belgian town where the British soldiers were stationed. The drama of the same name comes to the small screen courtesy of Ian Hislop, editor of Private Eye who also made a radio documentary some 10 years ago after first discovering an original Wipers Times manuscript, and scriptwriter Nick Newman. While Palin is no stranger to the small screen given his endlessly brilliant travel adventures, it is his first comedy role in 22 years. Lets hope it makes its way to the States soon. Until then, maybe a few UK readers will give us a review. Hint, hint.