1 9 8 7 (UK)
7 x 60 minute episodes
The BBC’s £6 million Fortunes Of War was set in Bucharest at the outbreak of World War II and featured the world’s most irritating hero, Guy Pringle (played by Kenneth Branagh).
It also had Emma Thompson, struggling under some awful wigs, as his sensible wife Harriet, finding to her anguish that her husband – a naive lecturer working for the British Council – was all things to everyone but quite insensitive to her needs.
Following the outbreak of the war, newlyweds Guy and Harriet were eventually forced to abandon their lives in Romania and move first to Greece and then to Egypt, putting a great strain on their marriage.
As they reaffirmed their love high on a pyramid (with a friend he’d invited along for good measure) you knew this was the Harrods class of drama.
Fortunes of War was the BBC’s riposte to Granada’s hugely successful serials Brideshead Revisited (1981) and Jewel in the Crown (1984).
Shot on a big budget on location in Greece and Egypt, with Yugoslavia standing in for Romania, it was adapted by Alan Plater from Olivia Manning’s six autobiographical novels derived from her experiences with husband Reggie Smith between 1939 and 1943.
In a prime case of life imitating art, Branagh and Thompson later married in real life.
Mischa De La Motte