11th July 2004

ITV broadcasts first episode of Island at War

Island at War was a hybrid tale of life in the occupied Channel Islands. It took inspiration from real-life events that occurred on both Guernsey and Jersey. Rather than being set on either one of them, the action took place on a fictional stand-in, St Gregory. It was filmed on the Isle of Man.

The six-episode series focused on three local families: the Dorrs, Mahys and Jonases. Joanne Froggatt, who would go on to take a lead role in Downton Abbey, played Angelique Mahy. Philip Glenister, who would star as Gene Hunt in both Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes, played German office Baron Von Rheingarten.

The first episode was broadcast on ITV on Sunday 11 July 2004. The series ran through to 15 August.

Island at War reviews

Television, film and theatre industry newspaper The Stage reviewed the first episode, commenting,

It will be interesting to see how Island at War fares in the ratings. Intelligent, well acted and very lavish, this six-part drama concerning the Channel Islands under Nazi occupation nevertheless makes for challenging and distressing viewing… It promises to be an uncompromising depiction of a horrifying part of British history but on the evidence of episode one alone, Island at War will reward perseverance.

The Times also reviewed the first episode, with writer Paul Hoggart saying,

Island at War is competent, easy on the eye and blandly entertaining. Nobody need go to bed with nightmares. Sadly this means that it is about as convincingly traumatic as a rubber shark.

The Guernsey Press reported that reaction on Guernsey itself had been unfavourable, and that two locals who had lived through the war had “collected more than 1,000 signatures from people unhappy with the series’ content and sent them to the producer”.

ITV didn’t commission a second series despite national feedback having been good.


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Other events that occured in July

Guernseyman Edward Tupper killed by cannibals 1st
Alderney is occupied by German forces 2nd
Seigneur of Sark, Michael Beaumont, dies aged 88 3rd
Guernsey hosted the Island Games 2003 closing ceremony 4th
New coins are minted for Guernsey 5th
Royal Guernsey Light Infantry Museum opens 6th
Victor Hugo statue is unveiled in Candie Gardens 7th
First Commando raid of the Second World War 8th
Birth of Sark-based writer Mervyn Peake 9th
Guernsey nurses go on hunger strike 10th
ITV broadcasts first episode of Island at War 11th
A Guernsey man posted himself to Sark 12th
Murderer Peter Robin sentenced to death 13th
Victor Hugo plants his United States of Europe oak 14th
Point Law runs aground off Alderney 15th
Racing yacht Westward is blown up off Guernsey
BBC made its first ever Channel Islands broadcast 16th
The Star received some “grave” news 17th
The Guernsey Martyrs were burned at the stake 18th
Prince Charles and Camilla visit Guernsey 19th
President Garcia is re-floated in Saints Bay 20th
Typhoid suspect holidaymaker flies home 21st
Guernsey Controlling Committee’s Sir John Leale died 22nd
Alderney to Guernsey radio connection established 23rd
Val des Terres was first opened for traffic 24th
The BBC broadcasts from Sark for the first time 25th
Guernsey court escapee was caught again 26th
Braye du Valle was gifted by the crown 27th
Murderer sentenced to death in three hours 28th
Guernsey bought Herm from the mainland 29th
Albert Lamy appointed Guernsey Police Chief Officer 30th
Guernsey to Jersey plane crashed into the sea 31st