Enemy at the Door TV Series Overview (1978-1980)


Introduction

Enemy at the Door is a British television drama series made by London Weekend Television for ITV.

The series was shown between 1978 and 1980 and dealt with the German occupation of Guernsey, one of the Channel Islands, during the Second World War.

Outline

The islanders were chiefly represented by the respected local doctor, Philip Martel (Bernard Horsfall), who struggled to maintain the peace while the Germans were led by Major Dieter Richter (Alfred Burke), a peacetime academic who was inclined to be lenient on the Guernsey populace but whose approach was challenged by his more conventionally nasty SS counterpart Hauptsturmführer Klaus Reinicke (Simon Cadell). Rounding out the principal German characters were Major Freidel and Oberleutnant Kluge, a former policeman still more inclined to act as a policeman rather than a soldier.

Many episodes portrayed the balance of power and fragile harmony between the islanders and the German occupying forces, and how it was threatened by either resistance action or over-zealous clamping down by the Germans.

A precursor to his role as Bergerac in the detective series set on Jersey, John Nettles played a police detective ordered to work for the Germans and anguished by the conflict between his duty and collaborating with the enemy.

The series’ narrative ended in 1943 with the Germans still occupying the island.

Cast

  • Bernard Horsfall as Dr. Philip Martel.
  • Alfred Burke as Major Richter.
  • Simon Cadell as Hauptsturmfuhrer Reinicke.
  • John Malcolm as Oberleutnant Kluge.
  • Simon Lack as Major Freidel.
  • Richard Heffer as Peter Porteous.
  • Helen Shingler as Helen Porteous.
  • Antonia Pemberton as Olive Martel.
  • Emily Richard as Clare Martel.

Enemy at the Door Series

Trivia

  • The programme generated a certain amount of criticism in Guernsey, particularly for being obviously filmed on Jersey despite being ostensibly set on Guernsey.
  • The series also marked the TV debut of Anthony Head as a member of the island resistance.
  • The theme music was composed by Wilfred Josephs.
  • The series was re-broadcast in the UK by Talking Pictures TV from September 2020.
  • The Channel Islands were the only British territories to be invaded by Nazi Germany during WWII due its proximity to occupied France and Channel Islanders suffered hardships because of wartime shortages and brutal Nazi regulations.
    • British troops did not attempt to stage a landing until the official German declaration of surrender in May 1945 (to avoid unnecessary civilian casualties) although RAF reconnaissance planes flew over photographing the islands and British propaganda leaflet drops on the islands occurred towards the end of the occupation to try and demoralise the Germans.
    • Although the German occupying force put up little or no resistance to the British landing expedition, the German commanding officer refused to hand over control when asked for a formal surrender and was subsequently thrown into a police cell overnight until he changed his mind and accepted the war was over.

Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s):
    • Bill Bain … (10 episodes, 1978-1980).
    • Jonathan Alwyn … (6 episodes, 1978-1980).
    • Christopher Hodson … (4 episodes, 1978).
    • Martyn Friend … (3 episodes, 1980).
    • Tony Wharmby … (1 episode, 1978).
    • Mike Vardy … (1 episode, 1980).
    • Terence Williams … (1 episode, 1980).
  • Producer(s):
    • Tony Wharmby … executive producer (26 episodes, 1978-1980).
    • Michael Chapman … producer (13 episodes, 1978).
    • Jonathan Alwyn … producer (13 episodes, 1980).
  • Writer(s):
    • Robert Barr … (writer) (1 episode, 1978).
    • John Brason … (writer) (1 episode, 1980).
    • Michael Chapman … (writer) (7 episodes, 1978-1980).
    • Kenneth Clark … (writer) (3 episodes, 1978).
    • N.J. Crisp … (writer) (4 episodes, 1978-1980).
    • James Doran … (writer) (6 episodes, 1978-1980).
    • James Andrew Hall … (writer) (1 episode, 1980).
    • John Kershaw … (writer) (3 episodes, 1978-1980).
  • Music:
    • Wilfred Josephs … (26 episodes, 1978-1980).
  • Cinematography:
  • Editor(s):
    • Derek Bain … (12 episodes, 1978).
    • Ray Helm … (9 episodes, 1980).
    • Martin Hay … (2 episodes, 1980).
    • Frank Webb … (1 episode, 1978).
    • Tony Webb … (1 episode, 1980).
  • Production:
    • London Weekend Television (LWT).
  • Distributor(s):
  • Release Date:
    • Series 01: 21 January 1978 to 15 April 1978.
    • Series 02: 05 January 1980 to 29 March 1980.
  • Running Time: 60 minutes.
  • Rating: 12.
  • Country: UK.
  • Language: English.

Video Link

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