This is a 13 part documentary, based on the journals of Churchill's bodyguard, Walter Thompson, who served the Prime Minister during WW2, and in years prior. According to this documentary, ...
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This is a 13 part documentary, based on the journals of Churchill's bodyguard, Walter Thompson, who served the Prime Minister during WW2, and in years prior. According to this documentary, the journal was heavily censored by British security services when it was first published in 1951. Subsequently, the diary was declassified and Walter Thompson made several short movie documentaries. This is a compilation of all that previous work, plus new material added by the makers of this film. This same firm produced the multi-part documentary on Adolf Hitler's security measures during the same time, as well as a number of other World War 2 documentaries.
The title, "Churchill's Bodyguard," is meant to be taken literally. In mid-career, Winston Churchill was assigned a bodyguard named Walter Thompson -- one aristocrat and one working-class ex postal clerk. Thompson followed Churchill around for virtually the rest of his active life.
I've only seen the first episode but it's already clear that this is to be a history of England from the early part of the last century until the end of the war in 1945. It's understandable. You can't take Churchill out of his historical context.
Thompson wrote a book about his job and there are a few clips of him reciting anecdotes about his responsibilities and about the character of the man he was keeping from harm, but none of it is particularly surprising and some of it sounds like balderdash. Thompson's book, "I Was Churchill's Shadow" (1951) made him famous and he gave speeches about his experiences, at home and in the USA.
Rather longish excerpts from the book are read by John Tradewell who, to be frank, makes Thompson's already somewhat bloated prose sound as if it's coming from a some character in an Ealing comedy -- maybe a self-important bank clerk or some non-too-bright petty official.
It's informative without being exciting -- so far, anyway. Still, it IS informative. The film footage we see is mostly unfamiliar. I never realized how much Liam Neeson resembled Michael Collins. So, if at times it's sluggish, it's all clear enough and keeps a viewer's interest.
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