Anniversaries, either in the form of commemoration or celebration, are one of the most significant ways in which the past intrudes into the culture of the present. In the case of the British Empire these intrusions are becoming more frequent. Although it initially appeared that the centenary marking of the outbreak of the First World War would focus exclusively on the trenches and the home front, the BBC eventually recognised the imperial dimension of the conflict, which included the deployment of over a million Indian soldiers and nearly half a million Canadian troops, with the broadcast of David Olusoga’s two-part documentary Forgotten Soldiers of Empire. Olusoga was able to extend his discussion of the role of soldiers from the European colonies in his book-length study, The World’s War . But it is also possible to look for the imperial legacy in more unexpected places. When the time came in 2013 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the BBC’s science fiction institution, Doctor Who, Simon Winder took the opportunity to explain how the fortunes of the early Doctors were tied to those of the declining British Empire.
Swipe to navigate through the chapters of this book
Please log in to get access to this content
To get access to this content you need the following product:
- Britain and Britishness
- Macmillan Education UK
- Sequence number
- Chapter number