Monday, January 18, 2010

Rory Stewart's Legacy of Lawrence of Arabia

I had a walk-on part in Rory Stewart's two part documentary on T.E. Lawrence's legacy, which was broadcast on BBC2 on Saturday, and can be downloaded on Iplayer. The film is well worth watching, and Stewart does a very good job of linking Lawrence's pre-war travels as a student, then an archaeologist, then effectively a spy, with his wartime role. There's some superb footage of the southern Jordanian desert from the Batn al Ghul escarpment and overlooking the Gueira plain, just north of Aqaba.

Incidentally, the phrase that I used in my interview to describe the line that Sykes proposed, "from the E in Acre to the last K in Kirkuk" is Sykes's and not mine. These were the precise words that Sykes used when he explained his scheme for the partition of the Middle East with France, and they speak volumes about the manner of the British approach. Here is the extract from the minutes:

Source: TNA, CAB 24/1: Meeting held at Downing Street on Thursday, December 16, 1915 at 11.30am.

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