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Professor Guy Cuthbertson features on BBC One’s Songs of Praise

Professor Guy Cuthbertson featured on a Wilfred Owen Special of BBC One’s Songs of Praise, which aired 100 years after the famous poet was killed in action in the First World War.

The Associate Professor of English, whose biography of Wilfred Owen was published by Yale University Press in 2014, told Songs of Praise presenter Aled Jones about Owen’s early life in Merseyside.

Professor Cuthbertson explained how the Owen family came to live in Merseyside after Owen’s father secured a job as Station Master at Woodside Railway Station. Standing in front of Woodside Ferry Terminal, Professor Cuthbertson shared insights into the poet’s early life and influences.

Owen was 7 years old when he moved to Birkenhead with his family, and just 25 when he died on the 4th November 1918, in what was one of the final battles of the war.

Professor Cuthbertson said of the experience: "It is nice to see the programme emphasising the role of religion, music and church-going in Owen's work. It was also nice to work with Aled Jones, who showed a genuine interest in the topic and knows Merseyside very well.

"The Armistice was frequently described at the time in 1918 as the greatest day in history. Writing my book about 11th November 1918, I was able to look at this day in detail and see how millions of people managed to celebrate wildly despite the horrors of over four years of war. We need to remember it as one of the most important moments in the history of Britain. We have also for a century now used the date to remember those who died in war - the day has become part of our national life and conscience."  

The Songs of Praise special was filmed in Christ Church, Birkenhead, where Owen and his family regularly attended services, and aired on Sunday 4th November.

Watch the full interview with Professor Cuthbertson (00:4:50)

Published on 05/11/2018