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Winston Churchill: The Wilderness Years 

The story of Winston Churchill's life between 1929, when he lost his cabinet position, and 1939, when he joined Great Britain's War Cabinet - a period he described as the most difficult in his life.
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1  
1981  
1 win & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Series cast summary:
Robert Hardy ...  Winston Churchill 8 episodes, 1981
Siân Phillips ...  Clementine Churchill 8 episodes, 1981
Nigel Havers ...  Randolph Churchill 8 episodes, 1981
Tim Pigott-Smith ...  Brendan Bracken 8 episodes, 1981
Peter Barkworth ...  Stanley Baldwin 8 episodes, 1981
Eric Porter ...  Neville Chamberlain 8 episodes, 1981
Edward Woodward ...  Sir Samuel Hoare 8 episodes, 1981
David Swift David Swift ...  Professor Lindemann 6 episodes, 1981
Sherrie Hewson ...  Mrs. Pearman 6 episodes, 1981
Paul McDowell Paul McDowell ...  Butler at Chartwell 6 episodes, 1981
Robert James ...  Ramsay McDonald 5 episodes, 1981
Marcella Markham Marcella Markham ...  Nancy Astor 5 episodes, 1981
Derek Ensor Derek Ensor ...  Speaker of the House 5 episodes, 1981
Chloe Salaman ...  Sarah Churchill 4 episodes, 1981
Katharine Levy Katharine Levy ...  Mary Churchill 3 episodes, 1981
Paul Freeman ...  Ralph Wigram 3 episodes, 1981
David Quilter David Quilter ...  Wing-Commander Torr Anderson 3 episodes, 1981
Tony Mathews Tony Mathews ...  Anthony Eden 3 episodes, 1981
Ian Collier Ian Collier ...  Harold Macmillan 3 episodes, 1981
Walter Gotell ...  Lord Swinton 3 episodes, 1981
Tamsin Murray-Leach Tamsin Murray-Leach ...  Mary Churchill, as a child 2 episodes, 1981
Moray Watson Moray Watson ...  Major Desmond Morton 2 episodes, 1981
Peter Vaughan ...  Sir Thomas Inskip 2 episodes, 1981
Richard Murdoch Richard Murdoch ...  Lord Halifax 2 episodes, 1981
Clive Swift ...  Sir Horace Wilson 2 episodes, 1981
Phil Brown ...  Lord Beaverbrook 2 episodes, 1981
Diane Fletcher Diane Fletcher ...  Ava Wigram 2 episodes, 1981
David Markham David Markham ...  Duke of Marlborough 2 episodes, 1981
Geoffrey Toone ...  Sir Louis Kershaw 2 episodes, 1981
John Woodnutt ...  Harlod Robinson / ... 2 episodes, 1981
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Storyline

The story of Winston Churchill's life between 1929, when he lost his cabinet position, and 1939, when he joined Great Britain's War Cabinet - a period he described as the most difficult in his life.

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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 January 1983 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Churchill w nielasce See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Southern Television See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(8 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Robert Hardy and Günter Meisner have both played their respective roles of Winston Churchill and Adolf Hitler in other films as well. Notably, Meisner played Hitler in The Winds of War (1983) while Hardy played Churchill in the sequel, War and Remembrance (1988). Hardy played Churchill on film a total of six times. See more »

Goofs

In the first episode, "Down and Out," Churchill is seen giving a speech in the USA in 1929. A US flag is visible to his right, and the field (with the stars) is visible. The stars are in staggered rows, meaning it is a 50 star US flag. A 48-star flag, as in use in 1929, would have even rows of stars (six rows of eight). See more »

Connections

Referenced in 28 Up (1984) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Winnie in the Doldrums
11 May 2005 | by theowinthropSee all my reviews

This series was a wonderful and unexpected one a quarter century ago. Based on a book of the same name, it traced the missing period of Winston Churchill's career. Having been a leading figure in political life from 1903 to 1929, and risen to such posts as Home Secretary, First Lord of the Admiralty, and Chancellor of the Exchequer, Churchill was cast adrift when the Tories under Stanley Baldwin lost office to the Labor Party of Ramsay MacDonald in a general election. For awhile Baldwin and Churchill were sitting next to each other on the front opposition bench in the House of Commons, but Baldwin was not that happy about this. He knew that Churchill was a potential Tory rival for leadership, and Baldwin wanted to control those who would succeed him while he held power.

The series did not quite explain Churchill's weakness here - in 1903, when he first made his name in politics, Churchill was a Tory M.P. This was traditional, because his father, Lord Randolph Churchill, had also been a Tory M.P. But Lord Randolph had been a maverick, who built up a block of Tories (one was future Prime Minister Arthur Balfour) called the Fourth Party, and had done considerable damage to Lord Salisbury's party in the 1880s. Lord Randolph did end up as Chancellor of Exchequer in 1887, but a political showdown miscalculation with Salisbury finished his career (a case of syphilis also ruined it). Winston took his father's independence to heart. He announced his rejection of the Tory policies of his day, and "crossed the aisle" to sit with the Liberal Party. Denounced for his treason to his father's party, Winston actually rose to power from 1903 to 1923 as a Liberal Party leader. But in 1916 there was a power struggle between the Liberal Prime Minister (Asquith) and his successor (Lloyd George). Winston sided with Lloyd George, and this was fine while a complicated half-Liberal/half-Tory coalition existed. But it collapsed in 1922. The following year Winston announced his disillusion with Liberal Party politics and crossed back to the Tories. Baldwin accepted it, as Churchill was experienced and smart. He made him Chancellor of Exchequer in his 1924-1929 administration. But Baldwin (as I said) did not trust Churchill.

The series never makes this clear, although Baldwin is shown to be a smart politician (Winston later acknowledged that Stanley was the most formidable politician he ever met). It follows how Baldwin managed for most of the 1930s to manipulate the weakling MacDonald (who split his party on a coalition government in 1931) to keep Churchill out of the government, and then to keep him out of the Tory government of 1935-37. Some of this was due to Churchill's own blundering - he opposed Baldwin's willingness to work with Gandhi on eventual Indian independence, and he supported the pro-Nazi Edward VIII in the abdication crisis. Baldwin left office in 1937, having chosen Nevil Chamberlain his successor. In retrospect Baldwin was one of Britain's most successful Prime Ministers, except he could not move as fast as he wanted in rearming in the face of Nazi aggression (he did do what he could, but the Labour Party and the Tories were not as willing to rearm as he was).

Chamberlain would also keep Churchill at bay, but he came acropper due to Hitler's aggressions and Munich. But Churchill would not be called back until Britain would return to war in 1939, and would not become Prime Minister until 1940.

The series was fair in showing that Baldwin was a clever political manipulator. And Eric Porter did a marvelous job as Baldwin's right hand man (and successor) Chamberlain, reminding the audience that had it been a peaceful period Chamberlain would have reformed the British education system and the tax system. He just was tragically unprepared to handle Hitler (who indeed was?). Best was Robert Hardy, whose Churchill was the best ever done dramatically on television. Not only his political miscalculations were shown, but his financial problems, his growing literary work (remember, he won the Nobel Prize for Literature as a historian), and his family problems with wife Clementine (Sian Philips), who had an affair, and his son Randolph, who was too undisciplined to have a political career. One hopes the series will be shown again someday.


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