8.6/10
495
22 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 »
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Episodes

Seasons


Years



1  
1981   1980  
Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

The British Raj: though their position seems secure, thoughtful English men and women know that "their" time in India is coming to an end. The story begins with an unjust arrest for rape, ... See full summary »

Stars: Tim Pigott-Smith, Geraldine James, Wendy Morgan
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

Two young men meet at Oxford. Charles Ryder, though of no family or money, becomes friends with Sebastian Flyte when Sebastian throws up in his college room through an open window. He then ... See full summary »

Stars: Jeremy Irons, Diana Quick, Roger Milner
The Final Cut (1995)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Francis Urquhart is too experienced a politician not to know that everything must end, even his long career as British prime minister. In order to secure his retirement and establish ... See full summary »

Stars: Ian Richardson, Diane Fletcher, Paul Freeman
A Horseman Riding By (TV Series 1978)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Having been invalided out of the Boer War, Paul Craddock buys Shallowford, a manor house and estate in Devon, with money from his late father's scrap-yard business. He soon becomes a ... See full summary »

Stars: Nigel Havers, Glyn Houston, Prunella Ransome
Testament of Youth (TV Mini-Series 1979)
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

Vera Brittain's world falls to pieces around her as, one by one, the young men of her circle are caught up in the Great War.

Stars: Cheryl Campbell, Emrys James, Jane Wenham
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

Francis Urquhart, the unscrupulous but cunning Conservative Prime Minister, has his survival threatened by a liberal monarch and an upcoming General Election.

Stars: Ian Richardson, Michael Kitchen, Kitty Aldridge
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

In the bleak days of the Cold War, espionage veteran George Smiley is forced out of semi-retirement to uncover a Soviet Agent within MI6's echelons.

Stars: Alec Guinness, Michael Jayston, Anthony Bate
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (TV Mini-Series 1996)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

In the mid 19th Century, an enigmatic young woman moves to Yorkshire with a young son. Distancing herself from everyone in the village and their prying questions, she remains totally aloof ... See full summary »

Stars: Toby Stephens, Tara Fitzgerald, Rupert Graves
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

The trials of the Henry and Jastrow families in the early years of World War II.

Stars: Robert Mitchum, Ali MacGraw, Jan-Michael Vincent
He Knew He Was Right (TV Mini-Series 2004)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Louis Trevelyan's refusal to trust his wife, Emily, destroys their marriage.

Stars: Oliver Dimsdale, Christina Cole, Laura Fraser
Lost Hearts (TV Short 1973)
Short | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A young orphan, Stephen, is sent to go and live with his strange, much older cousin at his remote country house. Once there, Stephen experiences terrible dreams in which he sees a young girl and boy who are missing their hearts.

Director: Lawrence Gordon Clark
Stars: Simon Gipps-Kent, Joseph O'Conor, James Mellor
Little Dorrit (2008)
Drama | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

The series tells the story of Amy Dorrit, who spends her days earning money for the family and looking after her proud father, who is a long term inmate of Marshalsea debtors' prison in ... See full summary »

Stars: Claire Foy, Matthew Macfadyen, Tom Courtenay
Edit

Cast

Complete series cast summary:
John Duttine ...  David Powlett-Jones 13 episodes, 1980-1981
Frank Middlemass ...  Algy Herries 13 episodes, 1980-1981
Alan MacNaughtan ...  Howarth 12 episodes, 1980-1981
Patricia Lawrence Patricia Lawrence ...  Ellie Herries 10 episodes, 1980-1981
Neil Stacy Neil Stacy ...  Carter 8 episodes, 1980
Edit

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>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Edit

Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 October 1982 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Una vida a su servicio See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(13 parts)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Matthew Waterhouse's first acting role. 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

David Powlett-Jones: [after a student criticizes the 1926 coal strike] When I was a young boy... much younger than any of you here, I went to school one morning, leaving behind a father and three brothers working on the early shift. That's 4am to midday. When I got home that evening, my father and two of my brothers were dead. Their bodies were never recovered. It was judged to be too expensive to be worth it.
See more »

Soundtracks

There's a Long, Long Trail
Music by Zo Elliott
Words by Stoddard King
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
One of my favourites of all time
21 December 2005 | by kurt_messickSee all my reviews

I saw this first when I was barely a lad of sixteen or so, just at my school-leaving age and going off to university. I was amazed then at how much from 'before the war' remained true to form for school, and watching it again now twenty years later, it stands up to the test of time perfectly well (and I was once again amazed at the true-to-life nature of the whole enterprise). The series won the BAFTA award for the best television series of its year, and rightfully so.

The miniseries is done in thirteen parts, each just under an hour long, as a co-production of the BBC and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. It was filmed in a real public school, Milton Abbey School in Dorset (not too far from part of the country where the mythical Bamfylde School resides), and many of the 'extras' in school shots are actually school boys of the Milton Abbey School. The settings didn't have to be changed too much to accommodate the inter-war period décor, and of course the architecture for the most part was hundreds of years older.

However well done the sets and images are, this is still a teleplay about relationships and the coming of age, not just of the boys in the school, nor even of the lead character, Mr. Powlett-Jones, but really of the whole of society. The inter-war period in Britain was a fascinating time of societal development, particularly in terms of politics. Delderfield introduces this as an ever-present but never centre stage idea through the dealings of Powlett-Jones, son of a Welsh coal mining family, some of his out-of-school relationships, and the clash that this inevitably sets up with the privileged corps of boys at the school.

In the first episode, David Powlett-Jones has just returned from the trenches in the first world war, wounded both physically and spiritually. He is suspicious of the job offer at this upper-class bastion, but the gentle understanding of the headmaster, Algy Herries, encourages him to stay. His relationships with the other teachers are a fascinating study, particularly the gung-ho-warrior type Carter (whose not-always-disabled knee seems to have kept him out of the war) and the cynic-with-a-good-soul Howarth, who becomes Powlett-Jones' best friend over the course of their life together at Bamfylde.

Howarth chides Powlett-Jones at one point about the kind of monastic life that one can fall into at a remote school such as Bamfylde.

Howarth: Some men can live the celibate life. I don't fancy you're one of them. David Powlett-Jones: What did *you* do about women all these years? Howarth (pausing, smiling): Your appetite for sordid revelations never ceases to astonish me.

Howarth reveals some of his indiscretions (remember, this is post-Victorian England, and the revelations, such as they are, would be considered exceedingly mild by television standards today). Powlett-Jones over the course of his twenty years at Bamfylde ends up with three primary loves; Beth, a young wife who dies early; Julia, someone not to be tied down to a school (or even the island of Britain), but keeps regular if long-separated contact with David over time; and Christine, the failed Labour candidate who becomes his second wife, taking on a role at the school as well, not the least of which is to remind the now-headmaster Powlett-Jones that there is a world outside the still-privileged halls of Bamfylde.

The teleplay is exceedingly well done, with the acting and the writing supporting each other in such a way to give real insight into the psychological make-up of the characters. John Duttine played David Powlett-Jones with a good amount of passion; however, I am torn between Frank Middlemass (as Herries) and Alan MacNaughtan (as Howarth) as to who my favourite actor is in the series. Both bring so much to their roles, and I can see myself in each of them in many ways more so than I can identify with Powlett-Jones. For the women, David's first wife Beth is played by Belinda Lang; Julia is played by Kim Braden (trekkies may recognise her from bit parts both in Star Trek film and series work); Susan Jameson plays Christine, David's second wife (fans of 'Coronation Street' may recognise her from that show). Each of the three is very well suited for their respective roles - Lang plays the young, optimist; Braden plays the worldly, ambitious but sensitive soul; Jameson plays the idealist who comes down to earth, managing to keep her ideals intact.

The play does a good job also of keep the boys from becoming a faceless, anonymous mass (a decided danger, given their uniformity in dress as well as age). There are particular boys who stand out, but one gets the sense from the watching that they are all individuals, and treated as such, both by the careful and caring headmasterly type Harries and Powlett-Jones, as well as the cynical Howarth (and even by the more scathing of the teachers, whose style is no longer in vogue).

The situations are credible, interesting, and instructive. The characters are fully formed and worthwhile. The production values are not to cinematic standards, but hold up very well over time (the lack of lavishness befits the nature of the school and the nature of the time as well).

This remains one of my favourite series of all time. The DVD has few extras, but among them are photographs, background information both on the school and on Delderfield, and the lyrics to the school song (which opens each episode, sung by the congregation of boys), by Kenyon Emrys-Roberts: 'Look ahead to a life worth living, Full of hope, full of faith, full of cheer,...'


24 of 26 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 22 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

IMDb Freedive: Watch Movies and TV Series for Free

Watch Hollywood hits and TV favorites for free with IMDb Freedive. Start streaming on IMDb and Fire TV devices today!

Start watching

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed