GUERNSEY HISTORY 

29th March 1980
Enemy at the Door comes to the end of its run

ITV’s highly-rated series Enemy at the Door came to an end on 29 March 1980. Over the course of 26 episodes, it had given a lightly-fictionalised account of the German occupation of Guernsey. Filmed by London Weekend Television (LWT), it had started its run at 7.30pm on 21 January 1978 and continued for two full series of 13 hour-long episodes each.

Curiously, although set on Guernsey, it was actually filmed on Jersey.

Fact-based fiction

The first episode opened with the German forces arriving to occupy the island. Although Britain had demilitarised the islands (which they’d omitted to tell the Germans) the occupying forces refused to recognise the fact. Instead, they placed the island under martial rule, at least as an interim measure.

One of the locals attempts to escape to the mainland but fails, and he’s injured in the process. This doesn’t help to build trust between the Germans and the locals. The occupation hasn’t got off to a good start.

There are several points of friction between the characters, and not just between the Germans and locals. The local doctor, who stands up for the Guernsey residents naturally comes up against the Commandant, Dieter Richter. Richter, meanwhile, is a thoughtful and considerate man, which puts him at odds with those who are higher up the chain of command and feel he ought to be more severe.

Enemy at the Door’s famous faces

Enemy at the Door was the first television series to feature Anthony Head. He went on to star in Nescafe adverts, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Little Britain. One episode also featured John Nettles, who would later return to Jersey to take the title role in the BBC detective series Bergerac.

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What else happened in Guernsey in February?