1 9 8 9 (UK)
10 x 60 minute episodes
Thirteen years after the success of The Glittering Prizes (1976), Frederic Raphael revisited many of its themes in After the War: the Jew in a Gentile society, the media world, and the English establishment.
The new series was even more ambitious and costly, ranging in ten episodes across Europe, Africa and the Middle East, from 1942 to 1967. Another dark-eyed, dark-haired actor represented aspects of the author, as the character of Michael Jordan made his way through the worlds of journalism, theatre and films.
Here, the hero’s privileged and sophisticated life was contrasted with that of a fellow Jew, Joe Hirsch, who was neither rich nor influential but a refugee from war-torn Europe who had to claw his way up in the world.
Here, too, the Raphael figure had a sister, Rachel, whose life ultimately bridged the worlds of both men. Raphael explored aspects of the postwar world, taking in Nazi-hunting, Fleet Street sleaze, the Six-Day War, the colonial legacy and West African independence.
Michael’s life was blighted by guilt – at being the ‘lucky’ Jew who never experienced the Holocaust at first hand and who grew up in plenty and comfort in middle-class London. His experiences were contrasted with those of Joe, who was much more politically aware, cynical and streetwise.
Middle episodes became bogged down in the bitchy showbiz world of 1950s and 1960s London but the series picked up when Rachel accompanied her husband to Africa – a trip which changed her life.