I know it’s long overdue since the series wrapped up a while ago, but here is the long-awaited review of Gallipoli which has been sitting in my draft folder since I don’t know when!
The rest of the series proved just as powerful as the first episode, but it was the action and not the characters that really made this series.
Tolly grew from a boy into a man over the course of the series, as any person would having had to confront the darkest parts of himself, particularly being a sniper for a time. However, that said, we never really got to know what he was like as a character, and I think that was because his flashbacks home only seemed to reinforce his crush on his brother’s girl. Because the campaign was largely told through his eyes and narration, he was more of a vehicle for the narrative than anything else.
It would have been nice to see more of the Anzacs and just not Australian troops. The only episode we really saw the New Zealand forces was the one in which Chunuk Bair featured (Episode 5 “The Breakout”). To me that was the most powerful moment of the series and the moment the audience truly understood the stupidity of the British officers and tacticians, watching all of these men mowed down and the New Zealanders fight hand to hand with the Turks (albeit with a few historical inaccuracies – television certainly likes to “dress” things up).
I learnt the full extent of the Allies propaganda machine with Gallipoli, thanks to the relegation of the reporters to an island off Gallipoli the fact that all but Ashmead Bartlett seemed content to go along with this really opened my eyes as an aspiring journalist.
Gallipoli also opened my eyes to the fact that the Turks and Allies weren’t always fighting or ‘sniping’ each other – The Turks and Aussies shooting each other’s spades and the uneasy alliance in helping one another to bury their dead earlier on in the series.
Although the final episode did not end as powerfully as the first started, it brought the series to a close nicely as the campaign to capture Gallipoli was abandoned. Ending with Tolly shipping out, staring back at the peninsula, left me with a few questions.
What happened to Tolly after the campaign? Did he go on to fight at the Western Front, as so many did? Did he and Celia become an item?
Overall, a good series that did justice to the Gallipoli campaign, but not a series that I’d personally race out to buy on DVD.