Connect with us


TV

A Family At War (ITV Drama, Colin Douglas, Barbara Flynn)

Published

on


First seen in 1970 and at the time Granada TVs most expensive ever series A Family At War charts the second world war years of the Liverpudlian Ashton family. Very quickly the show captured the nations interest hitting number one in the ratings beating the all powerful Coronation Street in the process.

Large by todays standards the family of 7 was headed by no nonsense Edwin (Colin Douglas) who worked in the printing works run by his arrogant and pompous brother-in-law Sefton Briggs (John McKelvey), wife Jean (Shelagh Fraser) did her best to instill the proper values into their five grown up children, eldest of whom was David (Colin Campbell), trapped in marriage to Sheila (Coral Atkins), ends up joining the air force by the end of the first episode.

Their other kids were the idealistic Philip (Keith Drinkel), schoolteacher Margaret (Lesley Nunnerley) who quickly gets married to John Porter (who is still very much under the influence of his domineering mother, leading to problems in the marriage), the just heading out into the world Freda (Barbara Flynn) and youngest son Robert (who is away much of the time at nautical school and is played by a very young David Dixon.)

Much of the first series is concerned with the coming of world war two, it is May 1938 when the series begins but already the dogs of war are mustering themselves, the second episode sees Philip going back to Spain (he had been there the year before) to help the fight in the civil war then.

Advertisement

By the time season started it was New Years 1941 and the war is taking a toll on the family, eldest son David and his wife Sheila have separated, Margaret is convinced her husband John is dead (he went missing after Dunkirk), Philip is in the Middle East youngest son Robert has joined the Navy. This last move has prompted a major rift in the marriage of Edwin and Jean. Edwin signed the papers for Robert to join up under age – but he didn’t tell Jean. Tragedy strikes when Robert is killed.

There was a lot of tragedy in fact, eldest daughter Margaret had a baby with another man but the baby died, then her husband John reappeared but with a serious case of PTSD.

The three seasons covered the whole of the war and a few months afterwards and then wisely creator John Finch called it a day.

The series was a massive popular success for ITV, catching the public imagination strongly – no surprise really given that for most of the older viewing audience the war was something they also lived through,

Advertisement

Episodes 25-32 were recorded in black and white because of a strike organised by ITV technicians between 13 November 1970 and 8 February 1971. The dispute was over a pay increase that the technicians felt they should get for working with the new colour equipment. Sheila played by Coral Atkins and Colin Campbell as David. The pair had a strained relationship from the beginning.

Cast: COLIN DOUGLAS as Edwin Ashton; SHELAGH FRASER as Jean Ashton; BARBARA FLYNN as Freda Ashton; LESLEY NUNNERLY as Margaret Ashton/Porter; COLIN CAMPBELL as David Ashton; KEITH DRINKEL as Philip Ashton; CORAL ATKINS as Sheila Ashton; JOHN McKELVEY as Sefton Briggs; TREVOR BOWEN as Tony Briggs; IAN BOWEN as John Porter; JOHN NETTLES as Ian McKenzie (1971-1972); PATRICK TROUGHTON as Mr Porter; MARGERY MASON as Mrs Porter

Creator: John Finch / Producers: Richard Doubleday, James Brabazon, Michael Cox

UK / ITV – Granada / 52×60 minute episodes / Broadcast 14 April 1970 – 16 February 1972

Advertisement

THE EPISODES
SEASON ONE 14 April – 4 August 1970
1. THE FACTS OF LIFE
2. TO DIE FOR SPAIN
3. LINES OF BATTLE
4. THE SUMMER BEFORE THE WAR
5. THE GATE OF THE YEAR
6. THE BREACH IN THE DYKE
7. THE WAR OFFICE REGRETS
8. FOR STRATEGIC REASONS
9. THE NIGHT THEY HIT No 8
10. ONE OF OURS
11. BROTHERS IN WAR
12. IF IT’S GOT YOUR NUMBER ON IT
13. THE END OF THE BEGINNING

SEASON TWO 11 November 1970 – 17 March 1971
1. THE OTHER SIDE OF THE HILL
2. I CAN BE HAPPY, CAN’T I?
3. A LESSON IN WAR
4. IS YOUR JOURNEY REALLY NECESSARY?
5. THE FORTY-EIGHT HOUR PASS
6. HOPE AGAINST HOPE
7. A TIME TO BE BORN
8. A HERO’S WELCOME
9. WE COULD BE A LOT WORSE OFF
10. LEND YOUR LOVING ARMS
11. HAZARD
12. GIVING AND TAKING
13. BELIEVED KILLED
14. INTO THE DARK
15. THE STRAIGHT AND NARROW
16. CLASH BY NIGHT
17. SALUTE THE HAPPY MORN
18. I WANTED TO BE WITH YOU
19. A SEPARATE PEACE

SEASON THREE 6 October 1971 – 16 February 1972
1. THE LUCKY ONES
2. FOR THE DURATION
3. HAPPY RETURNS
4. THE THINGS YOU NEVER TOLD ME
5. YOU CAN CHOOSE YOUR FRIENDS
6. FLESH AND BLOOD
7. SPREAD A LITTLE HAPPINESS
8. TAKE IT ON TRUST
9. THIS YEAR, NEXT YEAR
10. THE FUNDAMENTAL THINGS APPLY
11. THICKER THAN WATER
12. BREAKING POINT
13. THE LOST ONES
14. THE SENSIBLE THING
15. UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT
16. COMING HOME
17. A FAINT REFRAIN
18. TWO FATHERS
19. THE OLD ORDER CHANGETH
20. …YIELDING PLACE TO NEW

Advertisement

Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.

First Time Fixer First Time Fixer
News2 hours ago

First Time Fixer, April 19, 2024, Magnolia Network, “Reno Show Fans Face Their First Flip”

First Time Fixer returns with “Reno Show Fans Face Their First Flip” airing on Magnolia on Friday April 19. The...

House Hunters House Hunters
News2 hours ago

House Hunters, April 19, 2024, HGTV, “Sibling Search in Boise”

House Hunters takes viewers to Boise, Idaho, in the latest episode, “Sibling Search in Boise.” The episode introduces a single...

Entertainment Tonight Entertainment Tonight
News2 hours ago

Entertainment Tonight, April 19, 2024, CBS,

Entertainment Tonight returns with its latest episode, covering a diverse range of topics and exciting exclusives. In this installment, airing on...

Cesar Millan Better Human Better Dog Cesar Millan Better Human Better Dog
News2 hours ago

Cesar Millan: Better Human Better Dog, April 19, 2024, Nat Geo, “Perfect Match”

Cesar Millan: Better Human Better Dog returns with its second episode of the fourth season, titled “Perfect Match.” The renowned...

America's Backyard Gold America's Backyard Gold
News2 hours ago

America’s Backyard Gold, April 19, 2024, Discovery Channel, “Carolina Rare Gold”

America’s Backyard Gold returns with its sixth episode, “Carolina Rare Gold,” taking viewers on a journey to the Carolinas in...

Mysteries of the Abandoned: Hidden America Mysteries of the Abandoned: Hidden America
News2 hours ago

Mysteries of the Abandoned: Hidden America, April 19, 2024, Discovery, “The Forgotten Soldiers of Camp Naco”

The Discovery Channel’s Mysteries of the Abandoned: Hidden America returns with its third episode of the third season, titled “The...

Penn & Teller: Fool Us Penn & Teller: Fool Us
News2 hours ago

Penn & Teller: Fool Us, April 19, 2024, The CW, “Magic Is for the Birds”

The CW’s Penn & Teller: Fool Us returns with its nineteenth episode of the tenth season, titled “Magic Is for...

Shark Tank Shark Tank
News2 hours ago

Shark Tank, April 19, 2024, ABC, “1521”

Shark Tank, the long-running reality television series, returns with its 21st episode of the 15th season, titled “1521.” The episode,...

Great British Railway Journeys Great British Railway Journeys
News2 hours ago

Great Coastal Railway Journeys, 18 April 2024, BBC Two, “The Isle of Anglesey”

Great Coastal Railway Journeys returns with its ninth episode of the third series, airing on BBC Two at 6:30 pm...

Celebrity MasterChef Celebrity MasterChef
News2 hours ago

MasterChef, 18 April 2024, BBC One, “Series 20 Episode 8”

MasterChef returns with its eighth episode of the series, airing on BBC One at 8 pm on Thursday 18 April. Six...

The Apprentice Series 18 BBC One The Apprentice Series 18 BBC One
News2 hours ago

The Apprentice, 18 April 2024, BBC One, “The Final & You’re Hired!”

The Apprentice is back with its final episode of the series, airing on BBC One at 9 pm on Thursday...

ITVX's The Twelve - Sam Neill Talks ITVX's The Twelve - Sam Neill Talks
News11 hours ago

The Twelve Episode 5, 18 April 2024, ITV1

The Twelve returns with its fifth episode, continuing the gripping courtroom drama centred on a controversial murder trial. Airing on...

ITV ITV
News11 hours ago

Claim Your Cash? Britain’s Hidden Fortune – Tonight, 18 April 2024, ITV1

With the cost of living crisis squeezing millions of households, Tonight’s latest episode is Britain’s Hidden Fortune takes on a...

Channel 5 Channel 5
News12 hours ago

Inside the Hilton: Park Lane Episode 3, 21 April 2024, Channel 5

Inside the Hilton: Park Lane returns with a behind-the-scenes look at the iconic London Hilton on Park Lane, offering viewers...

Channel 5 Channel 5
News12 hours ago

The Tube: Keep London Moving! Season Finale, 21 April 2024, Channel 5

The Tube: Keep London Moving! returns with an insight into the challenges of managing London’s vast transport network during major...

Channel 5 Channel 5
News12 hours ago

When TV Goes Horribly Wrong 2, 20 April 2024, Channel 5

Channel 5 presents another installment of “When TV Goes Horribly Wrong,” offering viewers a collection of unforgettable and hilarious moments...

Popular