War Veterans’ day took a special spin in Canada this year as the president of the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., Gerard Veilleux, denounced a controversial miniseries on World War II vets, “The Valour and the Horror,” which it broadcast twice.
“To the extent that these programs fell below acceptable standards, the CBC accepts full responsibility,” Veilleux said in a CBC news release issued Wednesday.
The miniseries’ credibility has been under fire all week by an unprecedented federal senate subcommittee on veterans affairs
“The ombudsman (William Morgan) has concluded that, ‘the series as it stands is flawed and failed to measure up to CBC’s demanding policies and standards.’ In his judgment, ‘the most significant area of difficulty in these programs lies in the use of drama techniques,’ ” which, if used, “should be properly identified,” per the release.
That’s disheartening news for indie producers Arnie Gelbart and Andre Lamy (of Montreal-based Galafilm Inc.), who believe they have accurately documented a part of Canadian and German history that viewers want to see (a belief backed by strong A.C. Nielsen ratings), but that certain historians would rather forget.
The critically lauded series has been repeatedly attacked by Canadian war vets for its second episode, ‘Bomber Command,’ which addresses the tactics of late commander Arthur Harris, specifically in “Operation Gomorrah” on July 24, 1943, a bombing that devastated Hamburg, Germany.
The producers are now taking issue with the unprecedented political process of a “senate subcommittee hearing” for a TV series.
Producer Gelbart told Daily Variety that “we objected to the people that (Ombudsman Morgan) chose as historians (because) they were not impartial.”
The CBC consulted Brit historian Denis Richards, who wrote the intro to Commander Arthur Harris’ autobiography as well as the director of history of the Canadian Department of Defense, Sydney Wise.
“In the film, we question official military historians who have been covering up aspects of battles in WWII,” per Gelbart.
“We stand by the accuracy in our films. This debate is not about accuracy, it was about who was allowed to tell history.”