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Watch Andrew Marrs The Making of Modern Britain online: Episode 6 Britannia at Bay

Andrew Marr continues to shine fresh light on familiar tales as he winds up his series. We're up to the Second World War and what it meant for Britain. Marr's trick, as always, is to fasten on the human details and use them to make us feel what an episode such as Dunkirk felt like for those involved. So we hear about the chartered accountant called Basil who took his motor launch over the Channel to help evacuate the beaches, or the way soldiers waiting for hours in the water put their cigarettes and matches in their helmets to keep them dry. Then again, the archive footage often says more than words: one shot of soldiers flailing miserably in black, oil-thickened seawater did it for me. Dunkirk, the Battle of Britain (a triumph of information processing, he tells us, from the map room at fighter command), the Blitz, El Alamein, D-Day - the war whizzes by as a series of sketches. And as usual there are resounding sum-it-all-up sentences. On the death of empire: "Imperial Britain's final flare," he intones, "was her finest hour." Radio Times reviewer - David Butcher

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