WWII drama follows a group of British, Dutch, and Australian women; from the bombing of Singapore to their years spent in prison camps and eventually to the end of the war where the survivors try to readjust to civilian life.

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3   2   1  
1984   1982   1981  
1 win & 7 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete series cast summary:
Ann Bell ...
 Marion Jefferson (30 episodes, 1981-1984)
...
 Beatrice Mason / ... (30 episodes, 1981-1984)
Claire Oberman ...
 Kate Norris (30 episodes, 1981-1984)
Emily Bolton ...
 Christina Campbell (27 episodes, 1981-1984)
Elizabeth Chambers ...
 Mrs. Domenica Van Meyer / ... (26 episodes, 1981-1984)
Veronica Roberts ...
 Dorothy Bennett (24 episodes, 1981-1984)
Patricia Lawrence ...
 Sister Ulrica (21 episodes, 1981-1984)
...
 Lady Jocelyn 'Joss' Holbrook / ... (20 episodes, 1982-1984)
...
 Rose Millar (19 episodes, 1981-1982)
...
 Major Yamauchi / ... (19 episodes, 1981-1984)
Eiji Kusuhara ...
 Lt. Sato / ... (17 episodes, 1981-1984)
Takashi Kawahara ...
 Shinya (17 episodes, 1981-1982)
Takahiro Oba ...
 Kasaki / ... (16 episodes, 1981-1984)
...
 Blanche Simmons (13 episodes, 1981-1982)
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Storyline

Three 10x55min series. The first series set in 1941, a group of English and Australian women from Singapore are shipwrecked while they try to escape the Japanese invasion. The survivors are captured and put in a prison camp. They and their Dutch companions must all make drastic adjustments to and discoveries about their lives. In the second series, the group is moved to a new camp with a completely new pecking order and a particularly vicious camp leader. At the beginning of the third series, the prisoners are liberated and must re-adjust themselves to live in Singapore, in the aftermath of the war. Written by Kathy Li

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

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Details

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Release Date:

22 October 1981 (Australia)  »

Filming Locations:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(30 episodes)

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Australian actress Janet Fielding auditioned for the role of Kate Norris. She claimed on the DVD commentary for "Doctor Who - Warriors of the Deep" that she was rejected by director Pennant Roberts because her breasts were too large to play a starving prisoner. See more »

Quotes

[repeated lines]
Mrs. Domenica Van Meyer: How dare you speak to me this way?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Raised by Wolves: Little Orphan Mannie (2015) See more »

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User Reviews

Not Just a Woman's Movie
4 March 2003 | by (Ottawa, Canada) – See all my reviews

This and The Winds of War/War and Remembrance are outstanding examples of movies that get to the heart of the topic they portray. By all standards TENKO is actually superior due to the raw, less over produced, values.

I watched the original series by happenchance, just flicking through the channels to see what was on (yes, a very male thing to do) when I came across this series. As a lover of anything to do with this time period I stuck around for a few minutes... a fateful few minutes, because I got stuck into what I now consider to be the best drama television has produced.

I credit the superb cast, standouts all. Unlike most American movies, there are no major names so each actor stands equally in the spotlight and makes you believe the awful events are actually happening. I don't know that I could endure what these ladies went through, I would suspect not. I do have the epilogue movie, TENKO Reunion on tape (lousy copy), so at least I can revisit these characters when I want to, even if only through a lot of video noise.

So why is this series not available on DVD or tape in North America? I can only think that someone somewhere is deciding, even as I write this, that it is high time that a release date is set. Wishful thinking? I hope not!


15 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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