Greetings and welcome to the Thursday television review and this week I have something special for you a marvelous BBC documentary from the ‘Storyville‘ series entitled ‘The Last Days in Vietnam‘ and which is available on iplayer right now. This immensely watchable show takes us back to the final weeks of the war, with some truly amazing footage from the time focusing on the American attempts to evacuate South Vietnamese of Saigon from the Communist North who are literally closing in. This hour and half journey is dotted with fascinating insights and anecdotes combined with the footage from the time makes for a real sense of connection with the subject added to this the large cast of talking heads who where actually there not just analysts and commentators but actual marines and pilots brought this amazing story to life.
Looking so far back into history is always interesting and despite what your views about the war are this will appeal. The story of the show about saving S.Vietnamese said much for the Gungho American spirit of “damn orders I’m going to do whats right and save these people” and is inspiring, but most inspiring and what I really mean is amazing and courageous tale was of the Chinook pilot, which I wont spoil for you safe to say he was an awesome pilot who survived with his family. Packed with glorious footage from the American embassy in Saigon the viewer is viscerally taken back to the chaotic tension of those final days, from the desperate frustration to get away to the urge to help even if it means risking your job, even now the drama is still evident.
This was a long but excellent documentary looking at a subject we are all thanks to the movies partially familiar with yet this little known story around just a fraction of the war itself was not only insightful and educating it was entertaining and that is the gold standard of television documentaries enlightening the viewer whilst keeping them amused. In conclusion this is definitely one to iplayer and if your not already a fan of the ‘Storyville‘ series next weeks is about ‘Circus Elephants on the Rampage‘ While the commercial channels may do some quality documentary work normally in areas the BBC can’t touch, only the BBC makes them with this depth and finesse. leaving you feeling like you eaten a whole history cake with archive footage cream, so until next week I’m off to paint my room black and listen to some Rolling Stones music.