Tenko (1981)

Run Time - 60 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom   |  
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One of the most popular drama series on British television, Tenko was the fact-based saga of a group of English and European women living in Singapore at the outbreak of WWII. After the Japanese invasion, these women were rounded up by their Imperial Army captors and deposited in a variety of concentration camps. Despite the most appalling of conditions and deprivations, most of the valiant female protagonists managed to survive the ordeal, all the stronger for the experience. The huge distaff cast included Ann Bell, Stephanie Beacham, and Renee Asherton, with Burt Kwouk, best known for his portrayal of karate-chopping manservant Kato in the Pink Panther movies, doing an impressive job as grim, implacable camp commandant Major Yamauchi. Created by Lavinia Warner, the 30 episodes of Tenko (ranging in length from 30 to 55 minutes) were originally broadcast by BBC1 from 1981 to 1984. A one-off sequel, Tenko Reunion, aired in 1985; set in the 1950s, this film managed to incorporate a murder-mystery subplot in what was otherwise a straightforward "ten years after" drama.