Guernsey Press

Island at War is axed

ISLAND at War has been dropped. Local campaigners are celebrating Granada TV's decision not to make a second series of the controversial TV drama.


ISLAND at War has been dropped.

Local campaigners are celebrating Granada TV's decision not to make a second series of the controversial TV drama. Screened in the summer and situated on the fictitious Channel Island of St Gregory, the £8m. six-parter was set during the German Occupation.

Filmed in the Isle of Man, the programme caused outrage among many people who accused the producers of distorting Guernsey history.

Granada TV drama department development producer Rebecca Hodgson said feedback nationally had been good.

However, other projects had had to take precedence and there had been a long period of discussion.

'In our department we have a lot of different projects and ITV has a number of Second World War projects, so we need to assess what we are doing with what ITV is doing as a whole,' she said.

She added that the complaints received from the island had not influenced the decision, although they had been noted.

'Everyone I spoke to in Guernsey was always charming and we didn't dismiss anyone's views.'

Enid Campbell White, 80, an evacuee, and her friend, Pearl White Regan, 77, who spent the war in Guernsey, collected more than 1,000 signatures from people unhappy with the series' content and sent them to the producer.

'I always felt that there was a possibility that they wouldn't do another series and I think they were surprised with the reaction they got from Guernsey,' said Mrs Campbell White.

Granada claimed that a commando raid featured in the series was not based on the one made on Guernsey in September 1940 by Lieutenants Hubert Nicolle and James Symes, although Mrs Campbell White disputed this.

'From then on, people began switching off and those who did watch it all, and I only know of a handful, did so from curiosity and not because they were riveted by it.'

The producers did acknowledge an error in using vehicle registration plates without letters, which unknowingly linked the series to Guernsey.

'Why did they not come here and discover the truth for themselves? They went to Jersey and, if it was good enough to go there, it was good enough to come here.'

Herbert Winterflood, who has written books on the German Occupation, was surprised, but pleased, that a second series would not be filmed.

'It caused a lot of controversy and heartache and provoked some very unfair comments in The Sunday Times by its writer, AA Gill, which created a lot of bad taste,' he said.

Mr Winterflood added that the series had failed to convey the atmosphere of Guernsey during the Occupation.

'I'm really pleased that Enid and Pearl took it up so strongly and they did a lot of work and I think they have now been vindicated in their approach.'

Deputy Bill Bell, who has written a number of books on the Occupation, said that under the circumstances, he felt Granada had done the right thing.

'It was a programme that I don't believe achieved the high standards of historical record that many people would have wished,' he said.

Deputy Bell added that the series had been a disappointment generally and he had written to the producers about the numerous factual errors.

'There was no blackout on St Gregory, while the whole of Europe conformed to a blackout,' he said.

'The biggest error was recording it in the Isle of Man, when they should have recorded it in the Channel Islands.

'There was so much more here that they could have used that would have made it much more authentic.'

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