A Family At War - Series 1 [DVD]

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A Family At War - Series 1 [DVD]

A Family At War - Series 1 [DVD]

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At that time we recorded on videotape the whole piece from opening titles to closing captions, playing in the film inserts and stopping only for the advertising breaks. If you cannot play them in the USA you will need to contact the company from whom you purchased for and exchange or refund. It looks as though this programme may be in danger of dropping off the popular radar, not to mention the academic radar; for instance, it isn’t included in Lez Cooke’s excellent overview British Television Drama, even as a footnote. People generally waited until their old set gave up the ghost before switching, and in those days sets could last a long time. It was one of those series that kept you close to the screen and always in place as each hour episode was shown.

We’re very rarely offered any insights into the lives of Lerwick’s middle and upper-class families, and people may be mistaken in thinking that Shetland lacked any sort of cultural scene. It is the story of eight siblings, each of them in their own way "doing their bit" while remaining at the heart of the social life of the town. Although sometimes working through such a marathon viewing task felt like a feat of endurance as much as a pleasure, on balance I think it was precisely because of the epic duration and stately pace of the series that I became so thoroughly enamoured with it. She is the author of David Lean (2014) and Female Stars of British Cinema (2017) and a co-investigator on the AHRC-funded project ‘Transformation and Tradition in 1960s British Cinema’. In those days the producer was accountable for only the direct costs of the programme – the cast, the sets and props, travel and subsistence – all big items which provided headache enough.The closing theme and shot of the sandcastle on the beach with the tide coming in was very evocotive. We read war comics, watched war films, and made models of the most famous aeroplanes from the Battle of Britain, like the Spitfire and Hurricane. The older Stout girls seized the opportunity to broaden their horizons in Shetland, London, France and Germany. Colin Douglas was magnificent in this series as was the rest of the cast which starred in this story of the Ashton family as they made their way through those difficult times of World War Two.

John Finch states that he only wrote the original treatment as a ruse to be invited to the annual Granada conference where new drama ideas were discussed. FAW iprovides an excellent insight into civilian experiences during this period of time in our history, the acting is excellent and the story lines thought provoking and compelling. Margaret Stuart's compilation of her extraordinary family's experience of the First World War is based on copious contemporary articles, letters and photographs. Colin Douglas, as the lead and father of the Ashford family, was a captain in WW2 and fought in Sicily and at Arnhem.They get through D-Day preparations, D-Day, the whole 1944-45 campaign and VE day with only David’s career in the RAF providing a link to the war. The real surprise, though, is seeing a young David Bradley as 'Colin' (stuck in a reserved occupation in Preston), many years before his star turn as 'Eddie Wells' in 'Our Friends In The North' and Richard Beckinsale in a blink-and-you'll miss him role as a young soldier eating egg and chips in 1940 Belgium.

We cut to March (signalled too lightly, I thought … my wife missed the reference and was puzzled) and Margaret’s been to see the doctor. The marriage of Harry (Patrick Troughton) and Celia (Margery Mason) Porter is like something in Strindberg, and you wonder what on earth brought them together in the first place. I’ve seen Colin Douglas in ‘Doctor Who’ stories like ‘The Enemy of the World’ and ‘Horror of Fang Rock’. the most tragic figure was the Mother, who could not live with the lose of her youngest son, and to watch her slowly deteriorate was heartwrenching. Critics at the time sometimes complained of ‘women’s magazine atmospherics’ (Daily Mail, 21 January 1971), or that the show’s appeal replicated that of ‘the women’s magazines my mother used to read’ (Daily Express, 12 November 1970) or even that its narrative catalysts were nothing more than ‘the puny domestic bombshells that trigger off all soap opera, in fact.

Michael (inexplicably in uniform, and no longer a conscientious objector) has arrived with news of Philip, in Germany. I remember these films from the early 1970's and was elated to have found them available only to be disappointed.

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