Better and Homes and Gardens host Johanna Griggs was moved when she visited World War I battlefields. Photo: Channel SevenTelevision presenter Johanna Griggs found herself a world away from fix-me-up houses and flower trends for this week’s episode of Better Homes and Gardens.
Rather than querying paint choices, Griggs was at the Somme, her mind buzzing with questions like: Who were these boys? How could this waste of life happen? What have we learnt?
After years of dreaming about visiting the battlefields of World War I, Griggs embarked on an emotional journey to France and Germany in the hopes of bringing the forgotten stories home to Australians.
Griggs found herself overwhelmed by the scale of the lives lost and particularly by the ages of those who had died, many of whom were younger than her own two boys.
“You can’t actually fathom it until you see all the crosses,” Griggs says. “You look at these beautiful picturesque fields and they tell you there’s 2600 buried there and you walk up to a wall with the name of 11,000 men who don’t have graves. It’s the scale of it.”
Griggs hosted the show from the French village of Villers-Bretonneux, which Australian Diggers won back from the Germans on April 25 in 1918.
“I kind of get a bit sad that we have to wait for the centenary of such a monumental occasion for all these stories to be told,” Griggs says in reference to the string of Anzac-focused television shows that have aired this year.
“It’s great we’ve got the chance to tell them now but I kind of wish we knew more and were taught more about that history along the way.”
Although a very different feel to Better Homes and Gardens’ usual chirpy tone, Griggs says she is proud and excited to be part of the episode.
The whirlwind six-day trip to France and Germany has only sparked her hunger to find out more about Australia’s war history and she says she hopes to further explore the region in the future.
Better Homes and Gardens’ Anzac special airs on April 24 at 7pm on Channel Seven.
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