An Englishman's Castle

An Englishman's Castle is a BBC television serial first broadcast in 1978, written by Philip Mackie and directed by Paul Ciappessoni. The story was set in an alternate history 1970s, in which Nazi Germany won World War II and England is run by a collaborationist fascist government. Peter Ingram (Kenneth More) is a writer for a soap opera (also called An Englishman's Castle), which is set in London in 1940, during the fictional Nazi invasion and subsequent occupation.

An Englishman's Castle
Written byPhilip Mackie
Directed byPaul Ciappessoni
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of episodes3
Producer(s)Innes Lloyd
Running time50 minutes
Production company(s)BBC
Original networkBBC Two
Original release5 June (1978-06-05) 
19 June 1978 (1978-06-19)


Peter Ingram is a successful London screenwriter, the creator of one of the most popular television shows in Nazi-occupied Europe, An Englishman's Castle. It is a period soap opera, following an ordinary London family during an imagined German invasion of England in 1940. Ingram is oblivious to Nazi rule, which is hidden behind a façade of seemingly-normal English daily life. The invasion was followed by several years of guerrilla warfare, which ended in a truce with Germany and an amnesty that enabled the resisters to resume normal daily life in return for accepting the reality of German occupation, which they generally did, feeling that further resistance was futile.

Ingram's show furthers the feeling among the population in the present (1978) and so is highly valuable to the authorities. A kind of normality was restored, with few Germans to be seen in the streets. German rule is maintained mainly through an extensive system of collaborators, known as "delators". When dissidents are detained it is done by polite, soft-spoken English police, but they are then delivered to horrible torture chambers, kept discreetly out of sight.

Ingram gradually becomes aware of the real state of things. Firstly, he encounters his superiors' firm objection to the inclusion of a character with a Jewish name in the series. The series is largely based on his own life, he argues, and the Jewish man was a real friend. However, having such a character would violate the official policy of letting the extermination of the Jews remain forgotten, never discussed openly. Then, Ingram discovers that his mistress, Jill, one of the stars of his show, is secretly Jewish and a member of an underground resistance movement. Eventually, his loyalties are tested, and he sides with the resistance.

When the resistance decides to include the code word that will signal a nationwide insurgency in his show, due to its huge audience, he complies, allowing Sally (Jill) to speak the phrase when it is filmed. However, in the closing scene, he locks himself in his office as the episode is broadcast, cuts off the feed just before her scene airs, and speaks the phrase himself instead, live over the air. As the sounds of a rebellion against the collaborationist government begin to come through the windows of his office, Ingram awaits the secret police, when someone breaks down the door and he turns to stare at the unseen intruder.



According to the DVD cover, the series was released by Simply Media and the BBC in 2015.

See also

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