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Series cast summary:
John Baddeley John Baddeley ...  Winston Churchill 3 episodes, 2003-2004
Winston Churchill Winston Churchill ...  Himself 3 episodes, 2003-2004
Ian McKellen ...  Narrator 3 episodes, 2003-2004
Lady Mary Soames Lady Mary Soames ...  Herself 3 episodes, 2003-2004
George Elsey George Elsey ...  Himself 2 episodes, 2003-2004
Hugh Lunghi Hugh Lunghi ...  Himself 2 episodes, 2003-2004
Elizabeth Nel Elizabeth Nel ...  Herself 2 episodes, 2003-2004
Celia Sandys Celia Sandys ...  Herself 2 episodes, 2003-2004
Graham Walker Graham Walker ...  Winston Churchill 2 episodes, 2003-2004


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Release Date:

October 2003 (USA) See more »

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Carlton Television See more »
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User Reviews

5 January 2011 | by MikeyB1793See all my reviews

This is overall a good rendition of the life of Churchill. In the 3 hours they do feature many significant aspects of the great man. His early life as an adventurer and journalist in the army is well done and important in establishing his 'Victorian – Empire' background. The fractured relationship he had with both his parents was also alluded to.

His role in the First World War in the fated Gallipoli campaign and then in the trenches is briefly dealt with and shows Churchill's resiliency in coping with overwhelming obstacles and defeat – something that would serve him well in the future. Also his marriage to Clementine is shown as a bulwark in his life. Their long marriage would sustain him through-out his public life work. Clementine was not averse to contradicting him.

Churchill is portrayed through-out as a man driven – not only was he holding political office but his writing output was enormous. As mentioned in the documentary he wrote not only books but there was a constant output for newspapers as well. Also he gave many public speaking tours – one of the most famous was after World War II at Fulton Missouri which was shown in the documentary.

Of course the World War II years are the highlight of any film on Churchill and excerpts of his speeches are quoted. Actually the ones given in parliament were much more animated than the ones Churchill recorded after, which sound somewhat unenthusiastic. The complex relationship that both Churchill and Roosevelt had with each other is insinuated in one commentary that shows each competitively showing off their knowledge of Civil War battle fields during one of Churchill numerous visits to the U.S. It would really have been something to experience these two larger than life figures together – particularly as their personalities were quite different. Churchill was more emotional and Roosevelt more removed but sublime and had a good long distance view of his country's emerging role in the world.

There is some criticism of Churchill's colonial attitude towards India during the inter-war years, but it must be remembered that he was not the only one in England at that time to have imperial colonial aspirations. It was not Churchill during this era that was preventing India from self-rule.

There are actors who fill in roles for the young and then the older Winston and for the most part they succeed well.

The commentaries by Mary Soames his daughter, his grandson Winston Churchill (who recently died in March 2010) and granddaughter Celia Sandys are edifying and entertaining. There are also other informative commentaries from those who worked with Churchill such as secretaries and a bodyguard.

There are two things missing – understandable concerning Churchill's long and exciting life but they are omissions nonetheless.

There is no mention of Charles de Gaulle and Churchill's long and tempestuous relationship with him. I would have loved to have seen film footage of them together walking up the Champs Elysees after the liberation.

Also no mention is made of his famous speech, filmed in the Canadian Parliament during the war, with the famous quote of "some chicken, some neck" in reference to a French general who said to him during the collapse of France that in a few weeks time England's neck will be wrung like a chicken. I have seen this speech in other films and it is indeed electrifying. Also it was at the same time that the ever famous portrait of Churchill was taken by Yousuf Karsh.

The bonus features are also informative and well worth the look.

Overall a wonderful introduction to Churchill that will hopefully stimulate more reading of this man's fulfilling life.

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