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Posted November 5th 2013

I have had to wait until the conclusion of Parade's End before I could write this month's blog entry so apologies for the delay. I have be mesmerised by this utterly brilliant dramatisation. I have now bought the book and will make sure that it is always in my bag when I'm travelling (sadly the only time I get at the moment to read books!)

In my humble opinion the Beeb's dramatisation of this epic novel was sumptuous, witty and quite simply gorgeous. The scenery and the costumes were both remarkable. But, it was the absorbing and moving acting by Benedict Cumberbatch, Rebecca hall and Adelaide Clemens in the lead roles along with a truly great screen play that made this arguably the most special serial on TV since the BBC's adaptation of Pride and Prejudice back in 1993.

I found that when I watched this series I forgot where I was, what time it was and who I was watching it with it was like my periphery vision was temporarily suspended. The scenes were captivating and I was there in the scene with the characters in those sumptuous and tragic settings. They drew you in and with their intelligent comments, their dry wit, their frustration, their loss and intensity. You could literally feel the emotion. It was actually quite a shock to the system when each episode ended and your were abruptly returned to your world.

I studied war poetry for GCSE English many moons ago and remember being struck by the immense tragedy (in the very true sense of the word) of the first world war. The mind bogglingly loss and the decimation of all that was known. The transformation the war's brutality and immediacy has one of the main characters - Christopher Teitjens was one I'm sure was repeated many, many times over and was a perfect illustration of this point.

I find it both shocking and amazing that the powers that be allowed the first world war to happen in the first place, but worst still that they did not stop it when they could. The scale of the loss of life and way of life is utterly impossible to comprehend - it is like a black hole in time, when we actually purposely destroyed one another. Nothing validates that... nothing. Surely the best way we can pay tribute to the souls that gave their all in this battle is to learn that violence is not the answer.....

This wonderful drama and the tragedy it is based on have inspired the beginnings of a new collection called 'Poppy' that I will launch when it is ready. I will donate a percentage of the profits to Peace One Day - an organisation that works for peace. http://peaceoneday.org