After the Japanese invasion of Singapore in February 1942, a group of British, Dutch, and Australian women are held in a Japanese internment camp on a Japanese-occupied island between Singapore and Australia.
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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
Possibly the greatest television series the BBC has EVER made
I absolutely adore Tenko - I saw it on video for the first time when I was 19 years old and was absolutely hooked! When I found out that only Series 1 was available on video, and that the BBC had failed to release Series 2, Series 3 and the two part special Tenko Reunion on video, I was hopping mad, I can tell you!
Finally, UK Gold repeated the entire series last year, and thanks to a fellow Tenko fan named Patsy, I now have the whole thing on video for me to watch over and over again!
The characters in this series are so real, that the viwer really does care for them deeply - Ann Bell is Marion Jefferson, the wife of a British army colonel, who finds herself appointed leader of the British women; Sister Ulrica (Patricia Lawrence) is the formidale nun, leader of the Dutch internees; Beatrice Mason (Stephanie Cole), the determined, no-nonsense doctor; Major Yamauchi (Bert Kwouk), the strict but at times compassionate commandant of the camp; nurses Kate Norris (Claire Oberman) and Nellie Keene (Jeananne Crowley); and so on, were just some of the protagonists who made this series so unforgettable.
Some of the most dramatic storylines occurred in Series 2, where a Eurasian woman, the evil Miss Hasan (Josephine Welcome) and a sly internee named Verna Johnson (Rosemary Martin) called the shots. Series 3 took place in Singapore, when the War had ended and the women had to cope with being free, trying to get used to their lives after years of imprisonment.
Gruelling, dramatic, shocking, funny, gripping - Tenko was all of these things, and much more. If it is ever on television, I urge you to watch it.
FYI: I recently met the actress Louise Jameson, who was so brilliant as Cockney Blanche Simmons in Tenko. I told her how much I loved the series, and she said that Tenko was her favourite acting job of all time - and she's been in Doctor Who, Bergerac and EastEnders to name just a few!
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