Fortunes of War (1987): S01E06 – Egypt: September 1942


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.


To help Simon recover from the death of his brother, he is taken under the wing of those at ‘Garden City’. Guy is enthusiastic about two new teachers he has employed. Simon becomes a hero in a desert skirmish and is promoted to liaison officer. Angela Hooper leaves her husband and takes up with Bill Castlebar, a married man. When his wife Mona returns, Angela and Harriet go to Luxor. However, there is an outbreak of cholera and Angela leaves. Harriet stays and sees Aiden Pratt, a young officer who was once a great actor in London. She thinks he is in love with her because he implores her and Guy to come and visit him in Damascus. He also tells her a horrific story of his time on an ocean liner after he declared himself a conscientious objector to the war. The ship was torpedoed and all the evacuated children died. He then decided to fight. Lord Pinkrose is determined to give his lecture on Byron, and Guy arranges it. Some Egyptian nationalists confuse him with another English aristocrat and shoot him at the podium. Harriet contracts dysentery when she comes back from Luxor and has to stay in hospital for several weeks. Guy pays her little attention and continues rehearsing his newest play. Harriet decides to go back to England. Simon is being driven to his new post when the Jeep stops at a WC and his driver is killed by a hidden mine. Simon’s legs are temporarily paralysed as a result of the accident. Harriet leaves Guy at the zoo to get on the boat alone, but at the last minute sees Mortimer and begs her to take her to Damascus. The episode ends with Dobson reading that the boat Harriet was supposed to be on was torpedoed and there were no survivors.

Fortunes of War Series

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

Production & Filming Details

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

Video Link(s)

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