Most people probably know him as his Pub Landlord Character from ITV’s happy hour. I’m a big fan, I’ve seen his live show and met the guy. But out of character Al Murray is in fact a History Graduate from the University of Oxford. Even more interestingly, he is fluent in both French and German – not sure what the Pub Landlord would say about that!
A few years ago Al released a History series, entitled ‘Al Murray’s road to Berlin’. It follows the campaign to liberate Europe, from just before D-Day to VE Day in May 1945. Its a very well produced programme, originally screened on the Discovery channel and available on DVD. Finally, some kind of documentary on WW2, presented by someone with a good background in History, but also with the common touch!
Al travels from Portsmouth, across to Normandy, through France and Belgium and Holland, jumps into Arnhem to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of Operation Market Garden, and finally goes on to Berlin. He drives around the battlefield sites in an original WW2 Willy’s Jeep, in Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506 markings (Band of Brothers!).
What I really like, is that Al always interviews the normal people who took part in the battle, and doesnt wheel out Major-this or Colonel-that all the time, as some documentaries are prone to do. What is more interesting is that he is the son of a Lieutenant-Colonel, but you really wouldnt think so, which is very refreshing indeed. Aryeh Nusbacher was the Historical Consultant, who to be honest I’m not a fan of, but I reckon Al could have done it on his own anyway. I get the feeling that even if you didnt know much about WW2, you could still watch this and not find it too difficult to take it in, such is the accesible way that it is presented. A lot of so-called-Historians could watch this and take serious note.
I got this for my Birthday this year and its one of my favourite DVD’s. Heres hoping Al does some more History work eventually!