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Fortunes of War – #4/7 – Greece: October 1940 – Kenneth Branagh, Emma Thompson


Fortunes of War is a 1987 BBC television adaptation of Olivia Manning’s cycle of novels Fortunes of War. It stars Kenneth Branagh as Guy Pringle, lecturer in English Literature in Bucharest during the early part of the Second World War, and Emma Thompson as his wife Harriet. Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson met filming the TV series and married in real life. Other cast members included Ronald Pickup, Robert Stephens, Alan Bennett, Philip Madoc and Rupert Graves. The series stays relatively faithful to the original novels, with no notable departures from their plot.

This episode

A despondent Harriet arrives in Athens, where she is overjoyed to see Yakimov at a cafe. They find employment at the British Information Office but when Pinkrose begins to work there, the mood turns sour. Harriet meets a young soldier, Charles Warden, who is quite taken with her. She considers having an affair with him but as she is going to his hotel room on the final afternoon before he must leave, she sees Sasha Drucker in the hallway. Sasha is convinced that the Pringles turned him in; Harriet assures him they did not. The delay makes her think better of her relationship with Warden. Guy applies for a lecturing post at the English School but is dismayed to find he is not the first in the queue. When Athens comes under enemy fire, Yakimov lights a cigarette outside during the blackout and is shot dead by sentries. The remaining group departs Athens for Cairo on a boat.

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