HARD to believe, but some viewers object to BBC1’s screening of the Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance.
They blame the BBC for wasting their licence fee by showing the annual event at the Royal Albert Hall.
And, missing the point entirely, the critics accuse the corporation of glorifying war.
The always moving Saturday night in November demonstrates the difference between the BBC and the now hundreds of commercial channels on our remotes.
It will never attract huge ratings and yet it still retains a place in the primetime schedule.
From current events in Iraq and Afghanistan to the poppy fields of France, it’s important that we remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the cause of freedom.
Another reminder can be found tonight in the second of three films introduced by Prince Charles to mark the 150th anniversary of the Victoria Cross.
Britain’s highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy, almost half of the VCs were given during a single conflict – the First World War.
As outlined by yesterday’s MEN TV feature, tonight’s film on Five at 8pm includes the story of Lt Col Wilfred Elstob (pictured).
He was a rugby playing Cheshire schoolmaster who commanded a battalion of the Manchester Regiment in France.
Third son of a Siddington vicar, Wilfred – also known as Wilfrith – has no known grave.
He was killed in March 1918 and awarded the VC for most conspicuous bravery, devotion to duty and self-sacrifice.
Aged 29, Wilfred led his hopelessly outnumbered men against the Germans at Manchester Redoubt, near St Quentin, telling them they would fight to the last with no surrender.
Historian Richard Holmes says: “He knew that he was going to die on Manchester Hill and he was going to take as many Germans with him as he possibly could.”
A survivor reported that before their last assault, the Germans called on Lt Col Elstob to surrender. He replied: “Never,” and was shot dead.
“I think that’s a particular sort of courage,” adds Richard, “where you recognise that you will lose and you will die and at the end of the day all of this, all of your future, will be as nothing.
“It’ll be trodden into the mud somewhere. But by your contribution you will eventually swing that long battle in favour of your own side.”
Wilfred’s VC is now among those on display at the Manchester Regiment Museum in Ashton-under-Lyne.
His is just one story among many which should shame those who sit on their sofas and begrudge a few hours of TV coverage every year to reflect, and to remember.
The Royal British Legion
Museum of the Manchester Regiment
Five: Victoria Cross