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My Grandparents’ War: Toby Jones (S2EP4 Channel 4 Thursday 6 October 2022)

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Toby Jones: Hollywood star Toby Jones explores his grandparents Reggie and Doreen Heslewood’s extraordinary World War II tales. Doreen risked her life by travelling into combat zones as a volunteer for ENSA (the Entertainments National Service Association) in order to boost the spirits of British soldiers. Years passed while Reggie fought the Japanese in the jungles of Burma and India, keeping her apart from him.

When he was younger, Toby loved spending the summers with his grandparents, but he now regrets not asking them about the war. He discovers from his family that Reggie was a troubled man who had PTSD and facial bullet wounds when he returned home. Additionally, Toby’s grandmother avoided discussing the war.

Toby, who is driven to learn more about the long-term effects of the war on his family, unearths shocking family secrets that have been kept hidden for years. Toby discovers by following in his grandmother’s footsteps that Doreen arrived in France just days before Nazi Germany invaded.

Toby is shocked to learn that Doreen was miraculously saved from the Boulogne beaches by the Royal Navy and hears his grandmother’s stirring testimony of those turbulent times for the first time.

Along with learning about the horrors his grandfather endured in Asia, Toby finally learns the family secret regarding Reggie’s shooting.

In addition to being an enduring love story, Toby’s film honours the extraordinary sacrifices that millions of Indians made to preserve the British Empire. Reggie and Doreen wrote weekly love letters and remained devoted to one another until their deaths, despite everything they went through.

Presented by Toby Jones; Dir: Francis Hanly; Prod: Rebecca Fairbank; Exec Prods: Tom Anstiss, Samantha Anstiss; Prod Co: Wonderhood Studios

Airdate: Thursday 6 October 2022 at 20:00 on Channel 4

Season 2 Episode 4

Four celebrates actors take deeply personal and immersive journeys to uncover what happened to their grandparents during the Second World War.