Al Murray and Sky HISTORY join a host of famous faces to uncover the truth behind Britain’s military past. Together with his alter ego The Pub Landlord, Al is on a quest to unpick the Great British psyche and understand whether the Brits are helped or hindered by their experiences in war.
Joined by comedians and personalities from the UK and its closest neighbouring countries, Al will uncover whether Britain’s wartime record is all it’s cracked up to be and how regular harking back to Britain’s glory days is viewed by neighbours and ‘allies’.
In each episode Al will tackle Britain’s relations with a different one-time military adversary, ranging from France and Germany to those who have occupied Britain before being unceremoniously ejected, such as the Romans and Vikings, the fairest of all fair-weather friends, the Americans and then a close look at the biggest British internal rivalry: Scotland versus England.
Supporting Al Murray on his crusade to separate fact from fiction, and representing the adversarial nation or tribes examined in each episode, are (order correct at time of writing):
- Much-loved TV personality Fred Sirieix – France and the Napoleonic Wars.
- Germany’s (un)official comedy ambassador to the UK Henning Wehn – Germany and World War II.
- Stand-up comedian Reginald D Hunter – America and the War of Independence.
- Actor and comedian John Thomson with cultural historian Janina Ramirez – The Viking invasion of Britain.
- Famed dancer and competition judge Bruno Tonioli – The Roman occupation of Britannia.
- Actor, comedian and proud Glaswegian Sanjeev Kohli – Scotland versus England
Along the way Al and his guests will uncover lesser-known aspects of Britain’s historic victories and challenge some of the myths surrounding some of its most infamous battles.
Al Murray said: “Barely a day goes by in the UK without someone mentioning one war or another, so Sky HISTORY has asked me, with the help of some of the country’s friends – who used to be our enemies – to take a look at the trail of victory and defeat that leads us to the present day.”
Famous for his multi-award-winning comedy creation ‘The Pub Landlord’, Al Murray studied History at Oxford University, has presented several successful history television programmes and co-hosts the hugely popular WW2 history podcast: We Have Ways of Making You Talk.
As The Pub Landlord put it: “This country is currently undefeated World War Champions of the World, fighting at all weights. We have a proud track record of defeating all comers, why we even had a war against the French that lasted One Hundred Years, the Hundred Years’ War, and the reason it lasted a century is we were enjoying winning it so much we spun it out for the full ton.
“The Germans had two cracks at the world title, which you have to respect, but they came up short. The Americans think they defeated us, whereas what we were actually doing was dropping them before they became too much trouble: and look at what an excellent decision that was. A victory no doubt, whichever way you look at it.”
The brand-new and exclusive six-part series Al Murray: Why Do the Brits Win Every War? premieres on Sky HISTORY on Wednesday 20th October at 9pm. Sky HISTORY is available on Sky 123, NOW, Virgin 270 and TalkTalk 327. All episodes will be available on catch up services.
Produced by Avalon, this is the second series for Sky HISTORY featuring Al Murray; Why Does Everyone Hate the English? Premiered in October 2018 and remains the best-performing UK commission to air on the channel, also winning the “Broadcast Digital Award for Gamechanger Programme of the Year 2019”.
Programme Information (order correct at time of writing)
Napoleonic Wars Wednesday 20th October, 9pm
Al is joined by proud Frenchman Fred Sirieix to separate the fact from the fiction of the Napoleonic wars. Was the battle of Waterloo really a great British victory or did Napoleon score an own goal? Were Nelson’s tactics in the battle of Trafalgar genius or reckless? Were our troops the pick of Europe? Or did the French actually dance rings around us? Al and Fred grab their cannons (and pedalos) to find out.
World War II Wednesday 27th October, 9pm
In this episode Al joins forces with German comedian Henning Wehn to delve deeper into the truth behind some WW2 myths. Taking to the skies, they explore whether the Spitfire really was the saviour of Britain that it was cracked up to be. The pair also dive under the waves to find the truth behind the famous enigma machine and get behind the controls of their own tanks to discover how the legend of German tank superiority might actually have come down to radios rather than armour plating.
American War of Independence Wednesday 3rd November, 9pm
In this episode Al faces up to one of the world’s superpowers and the richest nation on Earth to discover how the former British colony of America somehow slipped through its fingers. Joining him to fight for his nation’s honour is comedian Reginald D. Hunter. Together, they explore how the frontiersmen of America used guerrilla tactics to outwit the British redcoats, how the most effective spy for the American army was a slave and turn their hands to firing the rockets that set fire to the White House.
The Vikings Wednesday 10th November, 9pm
It’s 865 AD and the Great Heathen Army, the Vikings, have invaded Britain. Al takes up his sword to discover the truth behind how the Vikings were so successful in Britain. John Thomson represents the northern Viking horde as they explore the truth behind what Vikings really looked like, before they get ready for a Viking wedding. The pair delve into how these invasions started the north/south divide and set sail to discover the truth behind the Vikings’ fearsome battle prowess, with help from British cultural historian Dr Janina Ramirez.
Roman Conquest Wednesday 17th November, 9pm
What did the Romans ever do for us? Well, they certainly put the Brits through their paces back in AD 43. Al is joined by ‘Caesar’ Bruno Tonioli to look at key battle tactics during the Roman Invasion. From wading through the waves in Roman armour, to seeing how hard it was to invade, to the power struggle the Celts went through to hold onto their identity and just how difficult it is to fire a catapult.
Scotland versus England Wednesday 24th November, 9pm
In this episode Al meets ‘the Auld Enemy’, where bitter sibling rivalry is as strong today as it’s ever been. Joined by Sanjeev Kohli, Al visits Craufurdland Castle to explore the truth behind famous battles from the Wars of Scottish Independence. The pair don mighty (pedal powered) steeds to recreate the legendary axe attack from the battle of Bannockburn, claim independence for a town that’s switched sides too many times to mention, and explore just how effective ‘cow camouflage’ is when invading a castle.