Here are some radio shows and radio series I did for CBC IDEAS, with host Paul Kennedy and executive producer Bernie Lucht. It’s an eclectic mix of themes — France and the French; Italy and the Italians; war and technology; sex, perversion, French eroticism, and the techniques of seduction; the rise and fall of utopian dreams; and how, over millennia, humans invented animals.
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Recent Radio and Television Work
Here is a selection of broadcast Canadian television and radio work, plus work presently in production.
“Is France Burning?” [CBC IDEAS, rebroadcast]
The Great War Tour – six hours
Great Tank Battles: Canadians in Italy (Part Two)
Great Tank Battles: Michael Wittmann, Panzer Ace.
Ultimate Engineering: Angkor Wat – TV: writer
Ultimate Engineering: Machu Picchu – TV: writer
“Gilbert Reid’s France” – five-hour radio series: writer, host, and director, for CBC “IDEAS”.
“Gilbert Reid’s Italy” – five hours, radio series, writer, host, director, for CBC “IDEAS’,
“Secret Liberators” – a 60 minute TV special, writer, associate producer, for History television on special operations and special service Canadians that helped liberate Europe.
“Striking Back”: one hour, TV, History Television: writer, associate producer, the Dieppe Raid and Bomber Command as ways of “striking back” at the Nazi domination of Europe.
“Pleasures of the Flesh”: two hours, radio series, writer, host, director, for CBC “IDEAS”.
“For King and Country: Canada’s soldiers in the Second World War” – 6 hours TV, writer, associate producer, for History Channel.
“No Way Out; the End of Utopia”: two hours, radio series writer, host, director, for CBC “IDEAS’.
“War Science: WW-I” (PART TWO) – one hour: writer, host, director, for CBC “IDEAS”.
“How Humans Created Animals” – one hour: writer, host, director, for CBC “IDEAS” 2003.
“War Science: WW-I”, (PART ONE) – writer, host, director, for CBC “IDEAS”
“Forgotten Battlefields”: TV, writer, associate producer, 90 minutes.
“Seduction” – writer, host, director, for CBC “IDEAS”
“The Mating Game: a history of Flirtation” – writer, host, for CBC “IDEAS” (radio)..
“For King and Empire: Canada’s soldiers in the Great War” –TV 6 hours – writer, associate producer. [Gemini Nomination for best documentary writing for the Episode “Storming the Ridge”]
“History down the Barrel of a Gun” – four hours TV – writer, for Discovery Channel.
“La Seduction au Canada” – writer, host, for TV, TFO. [This is a multi-part French language series of shorts].
“Life and Times of Robertson Davies” – TV one hour – writer for CBC.
“The Empire of the Bay” – TV four hours – writer, CTV in Canada, PBS in the USA.
“East Meets West: Burma” TV one hour – with Peter Ustinov – writer.
“Greek Mythology”- 8 programs with Peter Ustinov- story editor.
“History of the Vatican”: TV, 6 hours – consultant.
Notes on the CBC Ideas Series
For some reason – probably because I’d lived for many years in France and Italy – the IDEAS folk were initially under the impression that I was an expert in sex and seduction, so I did several programs on various aspects of that particular human, and animal activity: Seduction, The Mating Game, and The Pleasures of the Flesh (this last program was on French eroticism, the tradition that encompasses great gallantry and great cruelty, and which gives legitimacy to the relationship between power and sex, from the writings of the Marquis de Sade to Anne Desclos’ masochistic masterpiece of The Story of O.
I had also done some television series on the First World War and on the Second World war. I had become fascinated by the technological developments during the First World War. The cliche – repeated by all of us – was that the generals were stupid donkeys not interested in new technology, and that they sent their men blindly into battles which were merely slaughter houses. There was a fair bit of truth in this but I think it needed a corrective. It is very tempting to call the people of the past idiots – they were, on the whole, just as intelligent as we are, perhaps more so. But they faced different circumstances. Briefly, the technology of killing had by 1914 reached a level which made quick decisive victories virtually impossible; the generals were eager for any new device or technology which could break this murderous stalemate; and, as a result, technology advanced by leaps and bounds during the war – fighter planes, bombers, poisoned gas, tanks, hand held automatic weapons, and many other innovations were spawned in the four years of fighting. So the First World War was, as wars often are, a great accelerator of invention and technological innovation, and the generals were eager to have any new weapon that could be put into their hands.
The period after the Second World War was rich in utopian thinking; there were the technological and capitalist utopian programs of continual scientific advance, of endless economic growth,of managed social harmony, of happy clean suburbs, and of the progressive elimination of disease and poverty and perhaps old age; and then, partly in reaction, there were the libertine and libertarian utopias of the late 1960s and of the revolts particularly strong in the United States and in France, of 1968. From those revolts sprang, directly and indirectly, the left-wing terrorist movements of the 1970s and early 1980s, and the libertarian and reactionary movements, the right wing movements, with occasional terrorism, of the 1980s, and 1990s, and which are with us, in some respects, even today. All of this meant the end of utopia and the rise of dystopian thinking and attitudes, and, generally, at least until recently a feeling that there were ‘no alternatives’, that there was – and is – “No Way Out”. These were themes I wanted to explore.