Counter Attack


1960 - United Kingdom

On 30 June 1940, foreign troops occupied part of the British Isles-the Channel Islands-for the first time since 1066. Three young rebels planned their own counter-attack. The idea for this series came about when ITV drama supremo Sydney Newman sent a photograph to writer Peter Ling. "It was a very ordinary picture of an English-looking street," said Ling, "with an ordinary police constable on point-duty. All very unexciting - except that the other man in the scene, asking the way, happened to be a German officer in uniform. German troops on British territory? It seemed impossible - but of course it happened in June 1940, when German troops occupied the Channel Islands."

"This is our story," said Newman. "We tell it in seven fortnightly episodes and if it is one tenth as fantastic as the truth about the wartime occupation of the Channel Islands, I will be happy!" Peter Ling began to read the background of this amazing chapter of history. "If the story is hard to believe look up some of the unbelievable things that really happened before the Islands were liberated." He said. "Our version is on the cautious side." But not too cautious...The children's consultant for ABC and ATV, Mary Field, drew on her experience of holding a junior audience - from her years as Head of the Children's Film Foundation - knowing that young viewers enjoy a real thriller with no punches pulled. "With Mary's help," said Ling, "I roughed out the basic cast of characters - Carol and Cliff Delamere, whose plans to fight back as an unofficial Resistance group gave the series its title; Terry Benson, whose father is a fisherman undecided where his duty lies - to escape to Britain and join the Services or to stay and look after his son; a local man who turns out to be more helpful to the enemy than to his own countrymen; the Nazi captain who tries in vain to make the children toe the Nazi party line; the British agent who arrives on the Island. The cast included three children who took the leading part in this Sunday teatime adventure series. 

Irene French played Carol, Murray Yea played Cliff and young Jeremy Bulloch played Terry Benson. The series was directed by ABC Armchair Theatre stalwart Charles Jarrott and produced by Sydney Newman.

Published on December 5th, 2018. Based on original TV Times article.

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