An increasingly tetchy debate has broken out over whether episodes of the final series of Black Adder are being used to teach school children an inappropriately left wing view of World War I. The full story can be found here
, but essentially Michael Gove (the Secretary of State for Education) is claiming that Black Adder distorts the true picture of the role played by generals and leaders in World War I, and effectively means that children only learn a revisionist history of that period.
My personal view is that Mr Gove has taken a rather bizarre approach to this, and his words sound as though he's shouting 'left wing conspiracy' from the rooftops. Looking at historical accounts from soldiers on the front line, reading the war poets, and watching that incredibly moving film All Quiet on the Western Front, suggests to me that there was a lot of critique of the top brass during World War I, and that Black Adder's portrayal, while exaggerated (which is the point of comedy and satire anyway) isn't so far removed from other accounts of what went on.
So, is there really an issue with how we educate people about the First World War, or is Gove missing the point?