Island at War
turns a little-known bit of history into an extraordinarily rich miniseries. During World War II, the Nazi forces occupied the Channel Islands, located between France and England. Island at War
unfolds on the fictional island of St. Gregory, where a web of interconnected characters cope with the occupation--a politician struggles to maintain peaceful relations, for fear of brutal reprisals; an island policeman's anger at the occupation becomes complicated when he's forced to chauffeur the commanding Nazi officer and he discovers the position gives his family privilege; a shopkeeper, angry about her husband's death in an early bombing raid, finds herself sharing in profits with a Nazi official as they bring much-wanted food and supplies to the island; a girl hiding her Jewish identity becomes the object of a brutal lieutenant's sexual obsession. These four stories are only a hint of the series' fullness; the script, direction, and performances are superb, building an engrossing portrait of how human beings cope with extremity and how the smallest of interactions--from laying rocks on a wall to getting a photograph developed--can lead to profound and unexpected results. The economy and complexity of Stephen Mallatratt's script are remarkable. The forces of money, sex, prejudice, and love run deep through every story, juxtaposing private moments with historical scope. Island at War
matches skill and talent with passion and insight. --Bret Fetzer
In the only part of Britain occupied by the Nazis during WWII, the nightmare began in June 1940. Hitler's army invaded the defenseless Channel Islands and held its residents hostage for five years.
What would any of us do if we had to live side by side with the enemy? This Masterpiece Theatre drama draws on the real experiences of Channel Islanders as the hostile Nazi command imposed its will on every aspect of their daily lives. Set on the fictional island of St. Gregory, the story of the occupation is told through the eyes of three families. Heart-pounding suspense and unexpected romance unfold in an atmosphere suffused with the moral ambiguity of war. Starring James Wilby (Gosford Park), Clare Holman (Prime Suspect 6), Philip Glenister (Calendar Girls), and Saskia Reeves (Dune). Recommended for mature audiences.