Features

Classic TV Revisited: Enemy at the Door

Enemy at the Door

Enemy at the Door was wartime tale of occupied isle Guernsey which ran on ITV from 1978-1980. It starred Alfred Burke, Bernard Horsfall, Simon Cadell and Anthony Head.

Appearance?
Field grey uniforms for the Nazi invaders and sober 40s garb for the oppressed civvies.

Pedigree?
Short series but fondly remembered for offering a compelling and unusual take on Second World War.

What door and what enemy?
The enemy was, of course, the Germans and the door was Guernsey. It was the only part of Britain to be invaded since 1066 and, due to its proximity to the mainland, was an obvious stepping stone for a full-scale invasion.

Storyline?
The series focused on the effect on the islanders. In particular, it was about the Martel family, especially daughter Clare, 20.

How did it all begin?
The series began in 1940 with the residents bracing themselves for the threatened invasion.

Putting out bunting and making cucumber sandwiches, that sort of thing?
Certainly not a cause for celebration. As was dramatised, dark days were to ensue under the occupation.

Such as?
Villages and towns were given German names, clocks were set to central European time, cars banned, curfews imposed and food became short.

Enemy at the Door

Roots?
With the BBC putting out wartime shows such as Secret Army and Colditz with some success, ITV wanted something similar.

Enemy At The Door was the answer?
Yes but it was different.

How?
Instead of being about bitter foes, there was some tolerance between the islanders and the unwelcome guests.

Cosy co-habitants?
Not exactly. Relations crackled with tension.

Cast?
Fielded some big names of the era including Bernard Horsfall, Alfred Burke and Simon Cadell.

Surely not Cadell of Hi-De-Hi fame?
The very same. But rather than playing for laughs, he was SS man Hauptmann Reinicke, the villain of the piece.

Other notables?
Pam St Clement who played big Pat in Eastenders, Buffy star Anthony Head, Lord Of The Rings’ John Rhys Davies and Midsomer Murders and Bergerac star John Nettles.

Popular?
The audience peaked at a very respectable 15.1m in 1978 with the episode By Order of The Fuhrer. A seven inch single was released of Wilfred Joseph’s eerie theme tune and James Andrew Hall penned a novel based on the first series of episodes.

Distinguishing features?
Haunting theme tune, men in uniform, use of some archive material, much heel clicking, and an oppressive, brooding and tense atmosphere.

Not to be confused with?
Enemy At the Gates, Enema At The Door and Enemy Of The State.





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