Actor collecting forgotten war stories

By Brooke Bath

Tony Robinson says the scale of Kiwi sacrifice in World War I should be known around the world. Photo / Michael Craig
Tony Robinson says the scale of Kiwi sacrifice in World War I should be known around the world. Photo / Michael Craig

Far from the comical scenes of the Blackadder series which made him famous, Sir Tony Robinson was at New Zealand's largest memorial yesterday to collect true stories of war. Popular for his role of Blackadder's hapless sidekick Baldrick, Sir Tony is filming a History Channel series Tour Of Duty, based on 100 years of service of those who fought for their countries, from World War I to now.

Part of each episode includes a community event, inviting locals to share their family's stories of wartime, display memorabilia and talk about what going to war means to them in the 21st century.

Auckland had its day yesterday with Robinson, 67, outside the front of the Auckland Museum.

He said New Zealand's stories were moving for the sheer scale of sacrifice.

"Probably the most obvious thing is New Zealand per captia sent more men to World War I than anywhere else in the world, 18,000 men died, which is huge.

That's a story that can't be told too often. It's a story that has been forgotten, certainly in the Northern Hemisphere."

As fans of Sir Tony will know, humour often finds a way into his work, and yesterday was no different.

"Just about half an hour in a guy came, genuinely off the street, with the most extraordinary collection of cartoons and pictures his grandfather had drawn in a Japanese prison of war camp. Some of them are genuinely funny ... they really are unique and should be in a museum."

- Herald on Sunday

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