Enemy At The Door is a drama series that was originally screened in the UK on ITV from 1978 to 1980. The show deals with the lives of the inhabitants of Guernsey, an island in the Channel Islands when the German forces occupied the region during the Second World War.
If you expect to see a lot of action in this series you will be sorely disappointed. The series is a cerebral drama showing the impact of the German occupation on the islanders on their everyday lives. It’s quite a talky show and acted very much like theatre production – this isn’t a criticism, the show is well acted, and the performances are of a high standard – but they are slightly theatrical. This is further highlighted by the fact that the interiors of the show are shot on video whilst all the exteriors are shot on film, this is glaringly obvious, but very common for the time.
The main character in the show is Doctor Philip Martel, played by Bernard Horsfall is a family man who is torn between trying to balance the needs of his family, the islanders and the demands of the invading German troops. It’s a strong performance – one that shows a great deal of character development over the two series.
Each series is comprised of thirteen, 50 minute episodes that are spread over four discs each and although they may vary in thrills and drama they do offer solid entertainment. Fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer will also want to note that there is an early appearance by Anthony Head (Giles) as a member of the local resistance.
Enemy At The Door is a well acted and thought provoking show that is more about the drama of the situation rather than the battlefields that we are more used to. While the show may be dated, there is enough here to recommend to people who enjoy good drama or have an interest in history.
There are a few pages of notes under the “special features” menu which are slightly informative, however as always for older shows, this is a missed opportunity. Where are the historical documentaries or even a brief retrospective from cast or crew?
Sadly you’ll have to check out your local library or the History Channel.