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Foxtel cans controversial war show

Australian pay TV operator Foxtel has axed its recently acquired series that explores the Eastern European battlegrounds of World War Two.

Foxtel had been planning to air Battlefield Recovery (4×60′) on factual network History today after acquiring the series from UK distributor DRG, but has faced a public backlash over the show’s content.

The series is filmed on location in Poland and the Baltics and explores the sites of some of the most intense battles of the war.

The series, produced by UK indie ClearStory, has come in for criticism from archaeologists, who have said that it is disrespectful and akin to “grave robbing,” according to The Guardian.

History revealed the decision on Twitter yesterday.

Channel 5 in the UK is now under pressure from archaeologists to drop the show, which is scheduled to air on the commercial channel on Saturday evening.

A ClearStory spokesperson said: “It’s hugely disappointing and seems to be censorship by an internet minority who have yet to see the film. We hope the channel will reconsider scheduling the series – strong and rigorous compliance was a priority in the making of the series which is serious in its purpose and achievements.

“It proved an extraordinary production with some significant finds; in Latvia, three soldiers were recovered and now have been properly laid to rest in military cemeteries; a recovered dog tag of a Wehrmacht soldier was supplied to the German authorities to inform next of kin and, in Poland, 36 soldiers and civilians were found and they too have finally been buried with honour.

“On top of this, the team recovered hundreds of historic items from the battlefields as well as five artefacts, which were deemed of historical importance by the Latvian War Museum and acquired for public display.”

The series has been rebranded from its original title Nazi War Diggers, which was commissioned by National Geographic Channels International in March last year and later shelved following a backlash.

The series did, however, air on Discovery Poland in September last year and led to an 87% increase in viewers on the channel, according to ClearStory.

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