Winston Churchill is renowned as the legendary war leader, inspiring Britain in its finest hour. This series looks at the man behind the legend, bringing you closer to the real Churchill through the eyes of those closest to him.
Written and presented by Martin Gilbert, Sir Winston Churchill's official biographer and the author of Churchill: A Life, The Complete Churchill is a treasury of rare newsreel clips and interviews with Churchill's family, staff, and political contemporaries, both the supporters and the detractors.
Lee Remick stars as Jennie Jerome, born in the United States in 1845, who eventually became Lady Randolph Churchill, and gave birth to Sir Winston Churchill in this seven-part, seven-hour biographical mini-series.
Winston Churchill: The Wilderness Years is an 8-part 1981 drama serial based on the life of Winston Churchill, and particularly his years in enforced exile from political position during the 1920s and 30s. It was written and directed by Ferdinand Fairfax and Churchill was played by Robert Hardy. Hardy's brilliant performance as Churchill won critical acclaim and a BAFTA award in 1982. He reprised the role in The Sittaford Mystery, Bomber Harris and War and Remembrance and at the 50th anniversary celebrations of the end of World War II in 1995 when he quoted a number of Churchill's wartime speeches in character.
Then Churchill Said To Me is a television comedy series starring Frankie Howerd and Nicholas Courtney. The comedy is set in Winston Churchill's secret underground wartime bunker. Howerd plays a soldier named Private Potts who, like Howerd's character in the popular "Up Pompeii" (1970), he is hell-bent on avoiding work and gets into various scrapes as a result. Produced by the BBC in 1982 but, due to the outbreak of the war in the Falklands islands, the series was shelved. It was eventually transmitted in 1993 on the satellite channel UK Gold and then on BBC2 in 2000.
Churchill's People is series of 26 historical dramas produced by the BBC, based on Winston Churchill's A History of the English-Speaking Peoples. They were first broadcast on BBC1 in 1974 and 1975. The series was widely regarded as misconceived for variety of reasons, such as the studio-bound production which offered little in the way of realism and the lack of available funding. Each episode dealt with a particular period in British history, and the quality was consequently variable. Much of the acting was criticised, despite the involvement of names such as Richard Johnson, Robert Hardy, Alan Howard, Colin Blakely, Anna Massey, Gemma Jones and Edward Fox. The programme was reviewed at some length in the programme TV Hell, which revealed that viewing figures had plummeted from 2 million at the series' launch to less than half a million by the fifth episode. The programme was swiftly buried in a later time-slot for the remainder of its run. Nancy Banks-Smith in The Guardian described it as having "little to offer us but blood, horsehair and history. Though a hell of a lot of each."
The First Churchills was a BBC serial from 1969 about the life of John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough and his wife, Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough. It starred John Neville as the duke and Susan Hampshire as the duchess, was written and produced by Donald Wilson, and was directed by David Giles. The serial presents the lives of John and Sarah Churchill from their meeting in 1673 until a time shortly before the first duke's death in 1722, and illustrates, along the way, much of the context of contemporary English politics. Like many BBC serials of the era, it was made on a low budget, with sound studio sets, and generally avoided battle and crowd scenes due to inability to stage them in a convincing manner. The series is based on the Marlboroughs' famous descendant Winston Churchill's life of his ancestor the Duke, and as such presents a very favourable portrait of the Marlboroughs. The closing credits theme is the second piece, a Rondeau, of Henry Purcell's incidental music, composed about 1695, to Aphra Behn's 1676 play Abdelazer, or The Moor's Revenge. It is also notable as being the first program shown on PBS's long-running Masterpiece series in the United States.
The Churchills is a 2012 documentary in three parts written and presented by David Starkey tells the story of two great war leaders Winston Churchill and his ancestor John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough and the striking similarities in their lives.