PBS

Lynn Novick on the power of documentaries and working with Ken Burns

(Credit: Florentine Films/Stephanie Berger)

Can something as apparently ephemeral as a TV programme be genuinely cathartic and help to bring a measure of healing, perhaps even closure, to a national tragedy? That was the hope behind the making of The Vietnam War, the acclaimed documentary made by Ken Burns and his long-time collaborator Lynn Novick.

Last month, PBS America began showing the 18-hour directors’ cut in the UK. This followed the British premiere of the 10-hour version by BBC Four last autumn and its repeat over Christmas.