29th March 1980

Enemy at the Door comes to the end of its run

ITV’s highly-rated series Enemy at the Door came to an end on 29 March 1980. Over the course of 26 episodes, it had given a lightly-fictionalised account of the German occupation of Guernsey. Filmed by London Weekend Television (LWT), it had started its run at 7.30pm on 21 January 1978 and continued for two full series of 13 hour-long episodes each.

Curiously, although set on Guernsey, it was actually filmed on Jersey.

Fact-based fiction

The first episode opened with the German forces arriving to occupy the island. Although Britain had demilitarised the islands (which they’d omitted to tell the Germans) the occupying forces refused to recognise the fact. Instead, they placed the island under martial rule, at least as an interim measure.

One of the locals attempts to escape to the mainland but fails, and he’s injured in the process. This doesn’t help to build trust between the Germans and the locals. The occupation hasn’t got off to a good start.

There are several points of friction between the characters, and not just between the Germans and locals. The local doctor, who stands up for the Guernsey residents naturally comes up against the Commandant, Dieter Richter. Richter, meanwhile, is a thoughtful and considerate man, which puts him at odds with those who are higher up the chain of command and feel he ought to be more severe.

Enemy at the Door’s famous faces

Enemy at the Door was the first television series to feature Anthony Head. He went on to star in Nescafe adverts, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Little Britain. One episode also featured John Nettles, who would later return to Jersey to take the title role in the BBC detective series Bergerac.

 

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Other events that occured in March

Debut of Guernsey-set comedy This is Jinsy 1st
Channel 4 broadcasts Sark-based Mr Pye 2nd
First ever broadcast of Puffin’s Pla(i)ce 3rd
Dead man appointed to run Guernsey Airport 4th
Guernsey’s entire police force is arrested 5th
Isle of Guernsey delivered to its new owners 6th
Guernsey players set darts record
Guernsey heads call for an end to the Eleven-plus 7th
Guernsey’s first governor, Edmund Weston, is appointed 8th
Occupying forces mount a desperate raid on Granville 9th
Guernsey emergency services prepare for a disaster 10th
Birth of Baron James de Saumarez 11th
First publication of Victor Hugo’s Toilers of the Sea 12th
Building work starts on Guernsey Airport 13th
Guernsey’s island-wide police force is established 14th
Guernsey exchange student goes missing in Virginia 15th
The Book of Ebenezer Le Page is published 16th
BBC Radio Guernsey takes to the air
Guernsey clears up after heaviest snow in years 17th
Torrey Canyon spills oil on Guernsey’s beaches 18th
Guernsey issues banknotes featuring famous locals 19th
Guernsey guidebook pioneer Henry Inglis dies 20th
Soldiers staged a mutiny at Fort George 21st
Alderney arrest sparks a “riot” 22nd
Guernsey nurse Elizabeth Lincoln elected to the States 23rd
Famed printer Thomas de la Rue born 24th
Guernsey votes for equal age of consent 25th
Guernsey to UK telephone connection inaugurated 26th
Condor Liberation enters service 27th
Guernsey Post Office is established 28th
Enemy at the Door comes to the end of its run 29th
Guernsey adopts Sterling currency 30th
Guernsey and France tackle the Amoco Cadiz oil spill 31st