Fortunes of War (1987): S01E05 – Egypt: April 1941


Fortunes of War is a 1987 BBC television adaptation of Olivia Manning’s cycle of novels Fortunes of War.

It stars Kenneth Branagh as Guy Pringle, lecturer in English Literature in Bucharest during the early part of the Second World War, and Emma Thompson as his wife Harriet.


After their unceremonious arrival in Cairo, Guy and Harriet are forced to stay in an old brothel. Guy struggles to find work when it emerges that an old adversary is in charge of the English School. When Guy has to go to Alexandria, Harriet moves into ‘Garden City’ with Dobson. A naïve young officer, Simon Boulderstone, goes in search of his brother Hugo and befriends Harriet. Harriet is also introduced to eccentric Mr. Liversage, flirtatious Edwina and authoritative Mr. Clifford. Harriet and Simon visit the Giza and Djoser pyramids with Liversage and Clifford and climb them together. Harriet warns a naïve Simon that the Egyptians dislike the British because the British have exploited them for years for control of the Suez Canal. Simon doesn’t understand until he, Harriet and Mortimer, a female soldier, visit a live sex show, at which he is disgusted. Harriet and Simon also meet the Hoopers, a rich couple whose son has just been killed by a land mine. The Germans close in and Simon must go off to fight.

Fortunes of War Series

You can find a full index and overview of Fortunes of War here.

Production & Filming Details

  • Release Date: 08 November 1987.
  • Running Time: 60 minutes.
  • Rating: 15.
  • Country: UK.
  • Language: English.

Video Link(s)

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