Otago Boys' High School rector Clive Rennie (left) and TV
producer Matthew Thomason hold the Aitken violin, which is
to feature in a television series. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
The violin that played on the battlefields of World War 1
and is displayed in a Dunedin school will feature in a
An Australian production company is in Dunedin to prepare for
an episode of Tony Robinson's Tour of Duty, to be
filmed over five days in the city next month.
Series producer Matthew Thomason, of Sydney, visited Otago
Boys' High School yesterday to see the Aitken violin, which
was played by old boy Alexander Aitken at Gallipoli and other
battles. Another story featured would be that of OBHS old boy
James Waddell, who was decorated by the French Foreign Legion
and fought at Gallipoli and the Battle of the Somme.
''These are the kinds of stories most people won't know. They
are the stories we want to find,'' Mr Thomason said.
Half of the hour-long episode would consist of Sir Tony
Robinson walking around the city, talking of local war-themed
history. The other half was based at Toitu Otago Settlers
Museum, where members of the public were invited to bring war
artefacts and stories. The museum filming day was March 30.
The 10-part series would air on the History Channel next
January. The Dunedin episode is one of two filmed in New
The production company is spending two days in the city this
The Aitken violin was played on an almost nightly basis in
the trenches, an article on the school's website says: ''In a
world where sudden death, maiming and exposure to enemy fire
was constantly with a man, Alexander Aitken's solo concerts
were a paradoxical link with normal life and cultural
refinement not otherwise present in that environment.''