8.6/10
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21 user 2 critic

To Serve Them All My Days 

David Powlett-Jones has just returned to England from the trenches of WWI. He was injured and shell-shocked and, after a spell in hospital he gets a job teaching in a boys boarding school ... See full summary »
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1  
1981   1980  
Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

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Alan MacNaughtan ...
Patricia Lawrence ...
Neil Stacy ...
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Storyline

David Powlett-Jones has just returned to England from the trenches of WWI. He was injured and shell-shocked and, after a spell in hospital he gets a job teaching in a boys boarding school in S.W. England. He is not at all sure he can do the job, but the avuncular headmaster has faith in him. David, although well educated, is just a humble lad from the Welsh valleys at heart and has to fit himself and his ideas into the heart of the English establishment. Written by Steve Crook <steve@brainstorm.co.uk>

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Genres:

Drama

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Release Date:

10 October 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Una vida a su servicio  »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(13 parts)

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Did You Know?

Trivia

At the start of Episode 6, after David learns the sad news about Beth and the twins, he walks outside to an isolated part of the school grounds, is eventually joined by Howarth, and then walks off alone to the nearby moors. What transpires so smoothly on film was actually recorded over several months. The scene with Howarth was shot in March, the scene on the moors in mid-May and the scene with David receiving news of the accident in June. Part of the problem was that the school used for the film was in Dorset, which doesn't have moors. Those were found in Devon. See more »

Goofs

Several times, the length of David's tie changes between indoor and outdoor scenes in the same sequence. Example: Episode 8 opens with David walking back to Bamfylde early in the morning. His tie ends well above his belt. When David arrives at his house and talks with Molyneux, David's tie extends below his belt. From there, David goes outdoors to meet Algy and Brigadier Cooper, and his tie is once again short. See more »

Quotes

Christine Forster: Politics is full of people who can't cope with their own lives. I worry about that a lot.
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Soundtracks

School Song
(opening music)
Written by Kenyon Emrys-Roberts
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User Reviews

 
Lovely party, thanks
23 March 2005 | by See all my reviews

This was my favorite of the BBC serials that played on "Masterpiece Theatre," and 25 years later I find it just as charming and touching as I remembered. It's one of many variants (others are "Shogun, "All Creatures Great and Small," etc.) of the idyll some of us yearn for and, never finding, regard as irresistibly poignant: the story of a person who finds his perfect place in the world. In watching it again I discovered I practically didn't have to; I'd seen it so many times, and absorbed myself in it so thoroughly, that it had become part of my mental furniture. John Duttine was an unusual, compelling actor who gave what I think were splendid performances in this, the "Day of the Triffids" serial, and an episode of a BBC ghost series, and then seemed more or less to have vanished, to the viewers' loss.

The one big thing which strikes me now about this series is the bounciness of the supporting cast. There can never have been any more exuberant actors than Frank Middlemass, Belinda Lang, etc.; even Alan MacNaughtan, whose character is written as world-weary and cynical, comes across as lively and cheerful. Into the midst of this exuberant crowd enters a disillusioned war veteran--Duttine, an intense, introspective, melancholic performer--and the effect is as if he were brought out of himself by being caught up in a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta (and indeed, at one point the school stages "The Mikado"). Though the story is filled with anxiety and sorrow, the whole thing seems somehow like a party, and as such a sort of litmus test for one's capacity to enjoy life. Those who have it will have a grand time; those who don't won't understand why, and will probably leave early. For my part, I loved it, and feel grateful to have been invited.


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