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Enemy at the Door (ITV 1978-1980, Alfred Burke, Emily Richard)



Enemy at the Door was a wartime drama series. During World War II a group of Islanders from Guernsey face upto their land being taken over the invading Germans.

The quite strange situation the Channel Islanders found themselves in during World War II has provided TV makers with some fertile ground over the years, the best of them was easily Enemy at the Door.

During World War II the Germans occupied the Channel Islands (Jersey, Guernsey, Sark etc) the only part of the United Kingdom to be so occupied, although far closer to France than England these tiny islands had (and still have) large British communities and had little or no support from the English government of the day.

As the series opens it is June 1940 and the islanders are waiting, with no small degree of apprehension, for the arrival of the invading German force; In particular the series focuses on Guernsey based Martell family led by Dr Phillips (Bernard Horsfall) who has to try and placate the Germans and deal with his headstrong 20 year old daughter Clare (Emily Richard).

Heading up the German force is the always excellent Alfred Burke as Major Richter and a pre Hi-De-Hi Simon Cadell as Hauptmann Rennike. The series does well to present both sides of the coin focusing as much on the Germans as on the locals. Less overblown than the on the air at the same time resistance drama Secret Army (although John Brason and NJ Crisp who wrote for that series also wrote for this) but just as tense, strong on dialogue and featuring that classic British mix of videotape interiors and film exteriors.

Watch out for John Nettles in a guest starring role a good while before he made Jersey his home in Bergerac.

production details
UK | ITV – London Weekend Television | 26×0 minutes | Broadcast 21 January 1978 – 29 March 1980

Creator: Michael Chapman
Executive Producer: Tony Wharmby

ALFRED BURKE as Major Richter
EMILY RICHARD as Clare Martel
BERNARD HORSFALL as Dr Philip Martel
SIMON CADELL as Hauptmann Renicke
RICHARD HEFFER as Peter Porteous