Sunday, 26 October 2014


As I have mentioned before, I never managed to see the TV series BATTLEGROUND when it was broadcast. It featured a number of wargames that were fought out on terrain constructed by Peter Guilder and mostly using figures from his collection. Edward Woodward (of – amongst many other things – CALLAN fame) narrated the series, and a number of well-known wargamers took the roles of the opposing generals.

There were six programmes in the series:
  1. The Battle of Edgehill 1642: Duncan MacFarlane (Royalists) vs. John Tilson (Parliamentarians)
  2. Waterloo 1815: John Braithwaite (British) vs. Peter Gilder (French)
  3. Battle of the Nile 1798: Steve Birnie vs. John Harrison
  4. Chalons sur Marne 451 AD: Bob O'Brien (Huns) vs. Steve Davidson (Romans)
  5. France, 1944: Gavin Lyall vs. Bernard Lyall
  6. Gettysburg 1863: Peter Gilder (Confederates) vs. Paddy Griffith (Union)
It was therefore both a pleasure and surprise to discover that Seb Palmer has not only watched some of the programmes but has written quite detailed blog entries about each of the ones he has seen. These can be found on his blog, A QUESTION OF SCALE: A WARGAMING WORK IN PROGRESS.

  1. The Battle of Edgehill 1642
  2. Waterloo 1815
  3. Battle of the Nile 1798 (Episode lost)
  4. Chalons sur Marne 451 AD
  5. France, 1944 (Episode lost)
  6. Gettysburg 1863
Seb Palmer has also written an interesting blog entry about the making of the series and the people who were involved.

Whilst writing this blog entry I realised that it is almost five years since Edward Woodward died on 16th November 2009.

He was a consummate actor and singer, and was famous for a number of roles on TV (Guy Crouchback in the SWORD OF HONOUR trilogy, the eponymous CALLAN and Robert McCall in THE EQUALIZER) and film (CALLAN ... again, BREAKER MORANT, and Police Sergeant Neil Howie in THE WICKER MAN). In the aftermath of his death I wrote a number of blog entries about Callan the wargamer, and I re-read them before writing this blog entry. These blog entries can be found at:


  1. I enjoyed looking over the posts about this series. It of course goes without saying that these were never seen on the other side of the Atlantic!

    As you might or might not know, Bob Jones is about to release the 2nd edition of his "Die FIghting" Horse and Musket rules, and it will be entirely in video (CD) format, a few supporting printed reference material aside. It was vidoegraphed at "Chez Jones" in Denver, and featured local and non local talent, including a certain globe trotting wargamer-economist of your acquaintance, "Il Destofante" (Adolfo). I am looking forward to it's release in early November!

  2. Thank you for this, Bob. Edward Woodward was one of my favorite actors and I have always wished to see the greater body of his work, being limited to The Equalizer and Breaker Morant (but I may have seen something of Callan in the very late '70s or early '80s).

    Btw, the direct link to Seb's site did not work for me, a 404 error, but his name linked to his blog list, so I was able to view his posts that way.

  3. Gonsalvo,

    The series got precious little coverage in the UK when it was transmitted, so I suppose it is not surprising that it never made it to the U.S.

    Bob Jones' project sounds very interesting, and may well be the sort of thing that we shall see more of in the future. It is made all the more interesting for me because of Adolfo's involvement.

    All the best,


  4. Justin Penwith,

    Edward Woodward is frequently remembered for his serious, action-man roles, but he was also a very accomplished singer who appeared in musicals.

    Thanks for pointing out the broken link to Seb Palmer's blog. I think that I have fixed it, but if the fault persists, please let me know.

    All the best,


  5. Evening Bob,
    I have been lucky enough to have a dvd of four of the battles that were shown. The only problem is they wont play via my dvd/television and I have to use my PC instead.
    If you re read one of this years Miniature Wargames, re my interview with Charles Wesencraft, Charlie speaks at length about the series and how he was roped into it. He also mentions a follow up series of war walks made by Tyne TEES, which unfortunately I never saw, but it sounded good fun.

  6. Robbie Rodiss,

    I wish that I had copies of the programmes, even if I could only view them on my PC. (I have a few DVDs that I can only view on my PC because they were not made for viewing in Europe.)

    I knew about Charlie Wesencraft's involvement in the BATTLEGROUND series but not that Tyne Teese TV had made any follow-up war walk programmes.

    All the best,