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Fall of Eagles (BBC-1 1974, Patrick Stewart, Barry Foster)

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Fall of Eagles (BBC-1 1974, Patrick Stewart, Barry Foster)

Mammoth and impressive mid 1970’s historical drama series The Fall of Eagles is something of an all star series telling the story of the rise and fall of the Hapzburg dynasty from the first emperor Franz-Joseph through to Kaiser Bill and his exile at the close of the first world war.

In what is more a collection of single plays rather than a continuing series the cast changes from episode to episode but is pretty high calibre and includes the likes of Curt Jugens (as Bismark), Patrick Stewart (as Lenin), Barry Foster, Laurence Naismith (as Emperor Franz Josef), Gemma Jones, Denis Lill, Michael Kitchen, Diane Keen, Colin Baker, Marius Goring, Peter Vaughan, Paul Eddington and Charles Gray to name just a few.

The brainchild of legendary BBC producer John Ellliot (who created the amazing A For Andromeda), Fall was initially going to be quite an examination of the life of the last Tsar but as research for the series got under it was decided to widen it out to take in the whole of Hapzburg and Hohenzollern dynasties, covering the period 1848 upto 1918. This allows the plays to focus on not just Tsar Nicholas II but also Germany’s Kaiser Willhelm II and Emperor Franz Josef of the Austria-Hungary region.

This is a production of the highest calibre, from the writers (who include such strong names as Trevor Griffiths, Hugh Whitemore, Jack Pulman, Troy Kennedy Martin and Elliot himself), the directors (Rudolph Cartier – a true legend having been one of the guiding lights of both BBC and ITV in the mid to late 1950’s, David Cunliffe and Bill Hays and of course the already mentioned superb cast.

Fall of Eagles

Patrick Stewart as Lenin

production details
UK / BBC One / 13×50 minute episodes / Broadcast 15 March – 7 June 1974

Creator: John Elliot / Producer: Stuart Burge

THE EPISODES
1. DEATH WALTZ (15 Mar 74)
2. THE ENGLISH PRINCESS (22 Mar 74)
3. THE HONEST BROKER (29 Mar 74)
4. REQUIEM FOR A CROWN PRINCE (5 Apr 74)
5. THE LAST TSAR (12 Apr 74)
6. ABSOLUTE BEGINNERS (19 Apr 74)
7. DEAREST NICKY (26 Apr 74)
8. THE APPOINTMENT (3 May 74)
9. DRESS REHEARSAL (10 May 74)
10. THE INDIAN SUMMER OF AN EMPEROR (17 May 74)
11. TELL THE KING THE SKY IS FALLING (24 May 74)
12. THE SECRET WAR (31 May 74)
13. END GAME (7 Jun 74)

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