Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, was the nation’s favourite grandmother. But little of her childhood and early life has been documented – until now. In this unique and intimate portrait, the young Elizabeth Bowes Lyon emerges as a lively, strong willed and accomplished young woman. At 19 she had so many suitors she didn’t know which way to turn. In this remarkable documentary, personal testimony is combined with rare archive film, photographs and letters to create a unique insight into an extraordinary woman who followed her heart, married a Prince and by an unexpected twist of fate, became Queen.
Commissioned to be shown on the eve of Armistice Day 1997, this critically-acclaimed documentary offers a unique insight into the lives of the world famous Chelsea Pensioners. A familiar sight at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday, these scarlet-clad men have taken part in some of the most famous and bloody conflicts of this century, helped form history and yet remain humble. ‘The Gentlemen’ are full of stories of life spent in the army, through war and peace; sometimes funny, sometimes tragic and sometimes just plain unbelievable, most never before recorded.
The Red Baron was commissioned to mark the 80th anniversary of the death of the world’s most successful fighter pilot. In April 1918, the extraordinary and charismatic Baron Manfred von Richtofen, who had shot down 80 British planes, was buried with full military honours by the Allies. Unique testimonies from descendants of the Red Baron and of those brave men who fought with him and against him, combine with previously unseen archive footage and poignant excerpts from his mother’s diary to paint a remarkable picture of the life and death of an enduring legend.
Commissioned as part of ITV’s prestigious ‘Network First’ series, Going To Chelsea is an intriguing behind-the-scenes look at a year in the life of a garden in the lead up to the 1996 Chelsea Flower Show. We follow designer Stephen Woodhams in his second bid for a prestigious Gold Medal, and after months of hard work – raising sponsorship, trips to Italy, run-ins with the RHS – the big day finally arrives. Stephen is a bundle of nerves. But before the judges’ decisions are made public, he has time to meet the press and to chat to the cast of Men Behaving Badly and Her Majesty the Queen.
In the dead of night in March 1945, almost seventy desperate young German prisoners of war tunnelled from a camp in Bridgend in Wales and escaped over the sand dunes. The film follows the fate of the POWs, many of them committed Nazis, as they were tracked by armed soldiers, the Home Guard, dogs, local children and Girl Guides as one of the largest manhunts of the whole war got under way. Serious and comic in turn, dramatic reconstruction is intercut with commentary and personal testimony. Two of the German POWs return to the site for the first time in more than 60 years to see the very hut from which they escaped. In addition, we follow the production team as they make the extraordinary and exciting discovery that the 60′ long tunnel, sealed up and forgotten for so long, is, incredibly, still intact – despite being shored up using timber from the prisoners’ bunk-beds.
The Great Escape and The Road to Colditz are stories of captivity, escape and freedom told by the men who were there. During the Second World War the Germans took more than seven million prisoners. They told their captives – “For you, the war is over.” But this was not true. A new war, the war behind the wire, was about to begin. This major and critically acclaimed documentary marks the fifth collaboration between Producer Beryl Vertue and Director Michael Davies. Personal stories of hope and despair unfold throughout the films – first-hand testimony combines with archive film and extracts from famous movies to create an exciting, dramatic and moving story.