Living History of Merseysiders during Wartime; Actor Fronts World War I Website

Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England), October 3, 2013 | Go to article overview

Living History of Merseysiders during Wartime; Actor Fronts World War I Website


Byline: CATHERINE JONES Arts Editor @BodenJones

ACTOR Paul McGann is fronting a new website featuring the stories of Merseysiders who fought in World War I. The Withnail and I and Doctor Who star was in Liverpool yesterday to film his role for the site which is being set up by historians at John Moores University.

And he said it was shooting Alan Bleasdale's acclaimed 1986 TV drama The Monocled Mutineer which first sparked his interest in World War I. Since then he has made many journeys to the battlefields of northern France and become passionate about the subject.

The 53-year-old, who describes the 1914-18 conflict as 'the story of the century', said: "The First World War has only just ceased to be within living memory, the last trench soldiers have just died.

"I was privileged enough to know them for the last 20 years of their lives."

In addition, both of the actor's grandfathers served in the Navy during the war, while his dad landed on the Normandy beaches in World War II.

Paul added: "It's in my own family and that's what this website is about - it's a living history. This is to me what makes it so potent."

LJMU Professor Frank McDonough, who worked with McGann on a television documentary about Hitler and Liverpool in 2011, said: "Paul is such a charismatic person. He's a great front man for the website."

online Log on to www.echo.co.uk for interview " The interactive 'living archive' - Merseyside Experience of War, 1914-1918 - is the brainchild of Lord Alton and is being coordinated by war expert Prof McDonough whose grandfathe and great-uncle both fought in the conflict.

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