11th July 2004
ITV broadcasts first episode of Island at War

Island at War was a hybrid tale of life in the occupied Channel Islands. It took inspiration from real-life events that occurred on both Guernsey and Jersey. Rather than being set on either one of them, the action took place on a fictional stand-in, St Gregory. It was filmed on the Isle of Man.

The six-episode series focused on three local families: the Dorrs, Mahys and Jonases. Joanne Froggatt, who would go on to take a lead role in Downton Abbey, played Angelique Mahy. Philip Glenister, who would star as Gene Hunt in both Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes, played German office Baron Von Rheingarten.

The first episode was broadcast on ITV on Sunday 11 July 2004. The series ran through to 15 August.

Island at War reviews

Television, film and theatre industry newspaper The Stage reviewed the first episode, commenting,

It will be interesting to see how Island at War fares in the ratings. Intelligent, well acted and very lavish, this six-part drama concerning the Channel Islands under Nazi occupation nevertheless makes for challenging and distressing viewing… It promises to be an uncompromising depiction of a horrifying part of British history but on the evidence of episode one alone, Island at War will reward perseverance.

The Times also reviewed the first episode, with writer Paul Hoggart saying,

Island at War is competent, easy on the eye and blandly entertaining. Nobody need go to bed with nightmares. Sadly this means that it is about as convincingly traumatic as a rubber shark.

The Guernsey Press reported that reaction on Guernsey itself had been unfavourable, and that two locals who had lived through the war had “collected more than 1,000 signatures from people unhappy with the series’ content and sent them to the producer”.

ITV didn’t commission a second series despite national feedback having been good.

Category: Guernsey History | Other events tagged , ,

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