1 9 7 5 (UK)
4 x 90 minute episodes
The 1975 BBC production Days of Hope presented four plays about events in the Great War and life in the Labour movement up to the crunch of the General Strike.
The series began one of the most bitter rounds in the sporadic war between conservative viewers (spearheaded by sensitive Tory MPs) and the allegedly subversive “Reds Under The Bed” BBC.
Written by Jim Allen as an antidote to sentimental period dramas such as Upstairs Downstairs, produced by Tony Garnet, and directed by Ken Loach, the series starred Nikolas Simmonds and Pamela Brightman as Philip and Sarah Hargreaves, the young Christian, pacifist and socialist lovers, whose lives were touched by the events.
The plays were praised by critics for their visual beauty and emotional power, and the Broadcasting Press Guild awarded them ‘Best Drama of the Year’ prize. But the Daily Telegraph declared them to be a ‘party political broadcast for the Communist Party’.
Equity, the actor’s union, was upset too. The chap hired to play the young Ernest Bevin (Melvin Thomas) was not one of their members.
One scene in which a conscientious objector was tied to a post within range of enemy fire set off an explosion of anger from sections of the British press and the army, and claims of historical inaccuracy and bias.
1916: Joining Up | 1921: Black Friday | 1924: The First Labour Government | 1926: The General Strike