Synopsis by Hal Erickson
This three-hour overview of the life and career of Sir Winston Churchill was originally seen on British television as a three-part series. Episode one, "Destiny" coves the years from Churchill's birth in 1874 to his first fall from political grace in 1931, years distinguished by a troubled and rebellious childhood, acts of conspicuous gallantry as a soldier and journalist in the Boer War, Churchill's tenure as First Lord of the Admiralty during WWI, his fluctuation between the Liberal and Conservative wings of Parliament (to which he had first been appointed in 1900), and the launching of his prodigious literary career. Episode two, "The Lion's Roar" begins with a survey of the period between 1929 to 1939, which Churchill himself described as "the wilderness years"; it was the dark time when Churchill's ceaseless warnings against the threat of Adolf Hitler and Nazism were studiously ignored, and when his political opponents sealed the fate of Europe through a series of diplomatic blunders. The rest of the episode chronicles Churchill's brilliant career as Britain's wartime prime minister, firmly drawing the line against the Nazi juggernaut and defiantly refusing to buckle under; it was the era in which, to quote one observer, Churchill "mobilized the English language and sent in into battle." The final episode, "The Last Prize," details Churchill's life from the waning years of WWII through 1965; voted out of office at the end of the War, he made an indelible mark on the postwar world with his immortal "Iron Curtain" speech. Though he would briefly serve again as prime minister in the 1950s, the ravages of age and illness compelled him to retire in 1955. The episode closes with a poignant recollection of Churchill's twilight years, ending with his death in 1965. Ian McKellan provides the voice of Winston Churchill in this massive undertaking, filmed at many of Sir Winston's familiar haunts, and offering a meticulous recreation of Churchill's famous offices in Chartwell. Churchill was first seen in the United States as a single PBS special on October 14, 2003.
Britain, career-retrospective, historical-survey, life-story, politician, Prime-Minister, rise-to-fame