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Lewis Series VIII

Lewis Series VIII

     Coming soon to ITV1 in six
              new episodes

The ‘perfect’ detective team of Lewis and Hathaway are set to return to ITV in six new episodes of Lewis, one of ITV's best loved and most enduring dramas.

Kevin Whately and Laurence Fox reprise their roles as the detectives who investigate grisly murders against the backdrop of the beautiful university spires of Oxford. But this time it's different ...

After an extended break from the police, Hathaway has been promoted to Inspector. When the chemistry that exists with Lewis eludes Hathaway, retired Lewis is drafted back to renew their partnership. It's a new dynamic for our detectives, but one they'll have to come to terms with quickly if they are to achieve results.

The combination of Robbie Lewis's instinct for tracking murderers and unravelling motives and Cambridge graduate James Hathaway's deep thinking and erudite approach has served the duo well in the past.

Angela Griffin as Sergeant Lizzie Maddox

    Angela Griffin as Sergeant Lizzie

Lewis and Hathaway will be joined by career copper, Detective Sergeant, Lizzie Maddox, played by Angela Griffin (Mount Pleasant, Waterloo Road, Coronation Street).

It's been a slow route to sergeant, but Lizzie loves her work, and has ambitions to be an inspector. She is an expert multi-tasker and fierce when she wants to be.

Married to childhood sweetheart, Tony, Lizzie's home is her haven and she is very much commander-in-chief in the relationship. In her police work, she's staunch, practical, hard working, and has an easy rapport with everyone she meets.

Kara Tointon joins the cast for the first of the new films 'Entry Wounds'

       Kara Tointon joins the cast

Kara Tointon (Last Passenger, The Sweeney, EastEnders) also joins the cast for the first of the new films 'Entry Wounds'. Kara plays Erica the naturally glamorous wife of murdered neurosurgeon, Alastair Stoke.

Could she have murdered her husband? Lewis and Hathaway are called to investigate ...

Also reprising her role in the new series is Clare Holman, who was introduced to viewers as forensic pathologist Laura Hobson in the 1995 Morse film, The Way through the Woods, and has continued to appear in Lewis.

Rebecca Front will also return to the series as Chief Superintendent Jean Innocent who is frequently at odds with Lewis over his investigative style.

Kevin Whately is DI Robbie Lewis

Kevin Whately is DI Robbie Lewis

Following the announcement of his retirement at the end of Lewis series VII, DI Robbie Lewis returns to Oxford City Police to tackle the more heinous crimes alongside DI James Hathaway.

Lewis is drafted back to renew their partnership when Hathaway, on month into his role as Inspector, gets his first murder case. The decision is taken by Chief Superintendent Innocent (Rebecca Front) who is all to aware that Hathaway is struggling to find his feet and build a good working relationship with his assigned detected sergeants.

"Hathaway isn't coping too well, says Kevin. "He hasn't got great people skills. Hathaway is already onto his second sergeant and Chief Superintendent Innocent wants to bring Lewis in to help mentor him."

We find Lewis settled into a relationship with Dr Laura Hobson, and building a wooden canoe to occupy his free time. But 'once a copper, always a copper' Lewis doesn't need much persuading to return to the Force and help his friend and old colleague.

"Lewis retired from the Force but he's obviously not functioning too well in retirement. He's been finding bits and bots to do around the house. Although he promised Hobson it's enough for him, it's not.

"Lewis agrees to a year-long contract to work alongside Hathaway. To begin with there is a bit of friction because Hathaway takes it as a slight, but they soon settle back into the old routine.

"Lewis has always thought Hathaway is a good cop and very smart. He's not as worldly as Lewis or as good with people. But Lewis persuaded him to go for his Inspector exams in the first place because Hathaway was a bit reticent about it. He's find to give his support on these new cases as Hathaway finds his feet."

Laurence Fox as DI James Hathaway

         Laurence Fox as DI James

Lewis has always thought Hathaway is a good cop and very smart. He's not as worldly as Lewis or as good with people. But Lewis persuaded him to go for his Inspector exams in the first place because Hathaway was a bit reticent about it. He's find to give his support on these new cases as Hathaway finds his feet."

Now that Hathaway is an Inspector in charge of the cases that arise Lewis has to take more of a back seat in the decision-making. How does this affect our veteran detective?

"There is a different dynamic and this keeps things fresh," says Kevin.

"In the third film Lewis is squeezed off the case and he gets really frustrated and has to stand around waiting for something to happen. That's new for him"

Having been off the Force for over a year does Lewis find it easy to pick up his skills as a detective?

"Well the actor does, I've been doing it long enough!", laughs Kevin. "Yes, I think Lewis finds it all right to settle back into it. He's back in his natural habitat after all."

Kevin Whately as Lewis

One person who isn't best pleased to see Lewis working again is his partner Laura Hobson, played by Clare Holman.

"Lewis and Hobson are a couple, living together and quite domesticated. She's angry at first when she sees him on the job because he didn't tell her. But she recognises he needs to keep on working and supports his decision.

"I think they find it a bit odd going back to working together but on the whole it seems to be going alright. They are very natural in each other's company.

"I like working with Clare, we've always got on well so it's nice to share plenty of scenes together."

Laurence Fox as DI James Hathaway with Angela Griffin as Sergeant Lizzie Maddox

          Laurence Fox as DI James
   Hathaway with Angela Griffin as
           Sergeant Lizzie Maddox

When Lewis returns he meets Hathaway's newest detective, Sergeant Lizzie Maddox, played by Angela Griffin. The pair instantly hit it off.

"Lewis is quite paternal towards her, trying to over compensate for  Hathaway's lack of interest," explains Kevin.

"I think it's nice the way it's been written. After the first film he's less paternal as they all settle into working together."

Speaking about his newest co-star Kevin says, "It's been great working with Angela. She brings a new energy to it, which is good.

"Angela is great fun to have on set. Nothing fazes her. Laurence tries his best but it doesn't work. She's got so many brothers that she's used to it!"

Having had a break from filming last summer was Kevin pleased to be working on Lewis again?

"It's all the same crew so it was like a reunion for all of us. We must be about the oldest unit on the circuit. It's a lovely atmosphere on set. We had a lot of fun filming this year."

Kevin Whately with Angela Griffin and Laurence Fox

Kevin was pleased to return to Oxford once again for this new series.

"We all enjoy filming in Oxford very much. We work hard when we are there but it's a lovely place to be."


Partners in Crime

Partners in Crime with Jessica Raine and David Walliams

     Coming soon to BBC ONE

BBC One brings Endor Productions and Acorn Productions' Agatha Christie’s married couple Tommy and Tuppence to life in a brand-new six-part adventure series for the channel. Partners In Crime stars David Walliams (Little Britain, Big School) as Tommy and Jessica Raine (Call The Midwife, Wolf Hall) as Tuppence.

Directed by Edward Hall (Restless, Downton Abbey), episodes 1-3, 'The Secret Adversary', are written by award-winning author, playwright and director Zinnie Harris, (Spooks, Born With Two Mothers, Richard Is My Boyfriend) with the following three, 'N or M?' penned by Claire Wilson, (Where There Is Darkness, Twist).

Partners In Crime is produced by Georgina Lowe, (Mr Turner, Mad Dogs), executive produced by Emmy award-winning Hilary Bevan Jones (Roald Dahl’s Esio Trot, State Of Play), David Walliams, Hilary Strong (Poirot, Have I Got News For You) and Mathew Prichard for Acorn Productions/Agatha Christie Ltd and Matthew Read for the BBC.

Partners In Crime is an adventure series with espionage and humour at its heart. Set in a 1950s Britain rising from the ashes of the Blitz into the grip of a new Cold War, our beekeeping duo stumble into a world of murder, undercover agents and cold war conspiracy.

Tuppence is a woman who sees adventure round every corner, throwing herself head first into every mystery with passion and fervour, determined to get to the truth no matter what it takes, much to the dismay of her more cautious husband Tommy.

Hilary Bevan Jones, executive producer and founder of Endor Productions says, “To introduce the iconic Christie characters Tommy and Tuppence and their adventures to a whole new generation, is a fabulous opportunity for all of us at Endor. Our incredible creative team of David Walliams, Zinnie Harris and Claire Wilson are crafting a drama that promises to be exciting, fun and fresh. With the inspirational Edward Hall directing the whole series, and Georgina Lowe producing, we have a clarity and cohesiveness of ambition that promises only the best.”

David Walliams explains, “In bringing these thrilling stories to the screen, it is our ambition for Tommy and Tuppence to finally take their rightful place alongside Poirot and Marple as iconic Agatha Christie characters. I was first drawn to the delicious notion of a married couple solving crimes together, and the more I read of the Tommy and Tuppence novels and short stories, the more I realised they are among Christie’s very best work.”

Hilary Strong, Managing Director, Acorn Productions says, “We are excited to be working with the BBC and Endor to bring Agatha Christie to a whole new generation of viewers as we continue to build the Christie brand worldwide. Partners In Crime is the first of two major new dramas for 2015, the second of which is a new production of And Then There Were None, one of Christie’s most popular novels of all time. I am delighted that our partnership with the BBC will play a central part in our 125th anniversary celebrations next year.”

Mathew Prichard, Chairman of Agatha Christie Ltd says, “The first Tommy and Tuppence novel was published in 1922 and my grandmother, Agatha Christie, would be thrilled to see her crime-fighting team reinvigorated for the BBC over 90 years on from when she first brought them to life.”

Ben Stephenson Controller of Drama Commissioning adds, “This new and exciting partnership between David and Jessica promises to bring a fresh new take on these classic and well-loved adventures. With their combination of humour, wit and talent, I can’t think of two people better suited to take on the iconic roles of Tommy and Tuppence.”


Strictly Come Dancing

Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly host Strictly Come Dancing

Watch it on BBC ONE

It’s time to take to the dance floor as Strictly returns with a sparkling new line-up. The 12th series of the nation’s favourite dancing show is back on BBC ONE with the fabulous new co-hosts, Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman and there are 15 budding celebrity dancers.

This series three brand-new pro dancers join the Strictly family - Joanne Clifton (sister of Kevin Clifton, Trent Whiddon and Tristan MacManus.

Returning this year are the ever popular, Aliona Vilani, Aljaž Skorjanec, Anton du Beke, Brendan Cole, Iveta Lukosiute, Janette Manrara, Karen Hauer, Kevin Clifton, Kristina Rihanoff, Natalie Lowe, Ola Jordan, and Pasha Kovalev.

Tess and Claudia return on Sunday evenings to present the results show from week two of the competition. Each couple with the lowest combined scores, from the judges and public vote, will face each other in the dance off, with one couple leaving the competition for good. But no celebrity leaves until all of them have done two live shows first.

Following last year’s successful visit to the international home of ballroom dancing, Strictly Come Dancing will once again return to the world famous Blackpool Tower Ballroom when the competition reaches its half way stage.

Zoe Ball hosts It Takes Two on BBC Two

As always, Strictly fans can catch up with Zoe Ball and all the latest backstage gossip on Strictly’s weekday sister show, It Takes Two on BBC Two.

Plus of course there will be extensive extra coverage on the official website at  and across social media on Twitter, Facebook, Vine and Instagram.

The Celebrities

include Frankie Bridge, singer with The Saturdays; Judy Murray, tennis coach; Alison Hammond, TV presenter; Thom Evans, rugby player; Simon Webbe from boy band Blue;. Mark Wright, TV and radio presenter; Sunetra Sarker from Casualty; Jake Wood, Eastenders star; Steve Backshall, naturalist, author and TV presenter; Scott Mills, TV and radio presenter; Pixie Lott; singer; Caroline Flack, TV presenter; Gregg Wallace, MasterChef judge; Tim Wonnacott, Bargain Hunt Presenter; and Jennifer Gibney, Mrs Brown's Boys actress.

Some of the stars talk about what they might expect from the show.

Gregg Wallace

Gregg Wallace

TV Presenter and cookery judge Gregg Wallace is probably best known from his role on the hugely popular cookery challenge shows MasterChef, Celebrity MasterChef, and MasterChef: The Professionals on BBC One and BBC Two. Gregg also runs a fruit and vegetable business and has two restaurants of his own.

Why did you sign up for Strictly Come Dancing?

"I love the show, it’s a huge show there is nothing bigger and actually I love to dance!"

Are you competitive?

"Yes, I am afraid to say that I am."

How do you rate your dancing skills?

"I now realise after a bit of practice that there are no similarities between dancing and proper dancing. It’s as different as paddling and swimming in the Channel!"

What are your thoughts on sequins and fake tan?

"I don’t mind a bit of fake tan, that doesn’t bother me at all. At my age I’ll take everything I can get!"

Are you nervous about facing the judges?

"The judges scare me because you are working really hard and they are the experts and they are there to scrutinize everything you do. It is in their professional interest to critique you properly and that is scary. If they don’t pick up on something you do wrong then they lose credibility. On MasterChef I let people get away with things as long as they cover it in Chantilly cream!"

Who will be supporting you throughout the series?

"My beautiful girlfriend Anna, my mum, my kids and I think my girlfriend’s Italian parents will be too. Anna’s Nonna (grandmother) is a huge fan of the show so she will be screaming at the television too!"

Frankie Bridge

Frankie Bridge

The 25 year-old is no stranger to the spotlight, having shot to fame at the age of 12 with S Club Juniors. By the age of 16, she had amassed six top-10 singles with the group. In 2007, Frankie joined the girl-band, The Saturdays. As part of the group she has had four top 10 albums and 13 top 10 singles, including hits such as Ego, Issues, Missing You and What About Us. She is married to footballer Wayne Bridge and has a baby son called Parker.

Why did you sign up for Strictly Come Dancing?

"I just love it. I watch it with my mum – all my family love it. For me, dancing is the best bit of what I do. I just love dancing. To learn something I’ve never learned before and get to do it every weekend – it’s just fun."

What are you looking for in dance partner?

"I want someone who won’t make it too hard but I do want to be pushed. I like to be pushed but I want someone who’s able to have a laugh. I laugh at myself a lot."

How do you rate your dancing skills?

"I’m confident that I’ll be able to pick it up but to pull it off – that’s completely different."

How far you want to go in the competition?

"I think it’ll be a shame if I don’t get to do Blackpool."

How do you feel about embracing fake tan and sequins?

"Sequins in normal life – no – I’m not really a sequin person. But I can handle it on stage. And the tan? It depends on how brown they want me to go."

Are there any dances you would particularly look forward to learning?

"I like the look of the tango. The ballroom stuff worries me more because it’s more serious. I’d like to do the charleston though because it looks fun."

Who’ll be supporting you?

"My mum will be there with bells on! And my Granddad - who says things like ‘you know the rumba, Frank!’"

Mark Wright

Mark Wright

Mark rose to fame as part of the BAFTA Award-winning constructed reality show The Only Way Is Essex in 2010 and since leaving the show has gone on to host a number of TV and radio programmes.

Mark presents the Club Classics show on Heart as well as regularly appearing as presenter of The Hub on ITV’s This Morning. In the past, Mark fronted his own series for ITV2 called Party Wright Around The World and hosts Take Me Out: The Gossip.

How are you feeling about doing Strictly this year?

"Nervous, apprehensive, but so excited."

Why did you decide to do it?

"I just think it’s something you can’t turn down. It’s an incredible show, the best show on telly. I’ve never danced before, learned anything like this in my life – it’s a huge challenge and if I can conquer it then I’ll be very happy."

Do you have any favourite moments from other series?

"I liked it when Louis Smith did a backflip. I thought that was very daring. But then again he’s a natural gymnast. I can do a caterpillar at best!"

What are your thoughts on the Strictly judges?

"I like them. I’m not expecting to have great comments so I won’t be too disheartened when I get bad comments. I’m not really a natural dancer and I know I’ll get negatives, so the minute I get a good comment I’ll be very happy."

Are you a competitive person?

"I am competitive in certain things, like boxing and football, but I won’t be competitive in this. I want to do well for myself and each week that goes on I’ll learn a new dance and I’ve never learned a dance. Maybe if I got to the end and I was in the final I’d be competitive. But at this point I don’t feel too competitive."

How far do you want to get?

"Genuinely, if I don’t go out in the first three I’ll be ecstatic!"

Jennifer Gibney

Jennifer Gibney

Actress Jennifer stars in one of the most popular comedies on TV, Mrs Brown’s Boys. Jennifer plays the part of Cathy, Mrs. Brown’s daughter who is always on the look-out for a man but is always put off by her mother, Agnes. In real-life Jennifer is married to Brendan O’ Carroll who plays Mrs Brown, so her husband plays her mum in the show!

What are you expecting from the Strictly experience?

"To have a lot of fun and hopefully to learn to dance."

Are you a competitive person?

"You’d have to ask my family that question – I don’t think I can answer it honestly. I have been known to upend the odd Trivial Pursuit board in my time, but my family would probably be the better judge about that than me."

What are you looking for in a dance partner?

"A couple of people have asked me about this and I think all the dancers are amazing. Absolutely amazing. I don’t mind who I get."

Who would be your perfect partner?

"It would be someone who embraces fun and who understands the fact that I am a beginner. And I think the two of those things will balance each other out."

What are your thoughts on sequins and fake tan?

"Yes, we had it every Tuesday on Mrs Brown’s Boys, we called it tanning Tuesday, I am used to it, I am going to embrace it."

Thom Evans

Thom Evans

Ex-professional rugby player Thom represented Scotland at International level winning 10 caps and has had club stints at bLondon Wasps and Glasgow Warriors, where he held the record for most tries scored. Since his retirement from rugby, 29-year-old Thom has been focussing on modelling and acting.

Why have you signed up?

"I’ve watched the show for the last couple of years and everyone involved, from the celebrities, to the dancers and the judges always look like they’re having such an amazing amount of fun and I always said to myself that if the opportunity presented itself, I would always take it."

Have you got any dance experience?

"Absolutely no dancing whatsoever. Except that I’ve watched countless videos on YouTube – YouTube is great for that these days – and practised a couple of times in the mirror to get some of the certain styles and gestures!"

Have you done any special preparation?

"I’m really active so I do try to keep fit. I’ve been doing fewer weights as I don’t want to get too stiff, because it’s not the best thing going into this so I’ve just been doing a lot of body weight stuff. Basically stuff to free me up so I’ve just been quite conscious of that."

Have you got any particular dances you’re really looking forward to doing?

"I think, and I say this reservedly, the salsa will suit me more because my dancing basically consists of hip movement. I’ve never been taught but from watching those sorts of dancing, I think it might suit me more. And the jive – because it’s quick, like side-stepping in rugby. Austin Healey was great at the jive."

What would you be looking for in an ideal dance partner?

"Someone who’s definitely going to push me. I’m going to need a lot of work! But someone who will acknowledge when I’ve done something right and give me some sort of encouragement. Someone who’s driven and wanting to push the boundaries. I’m a pretty driven person as it is so I don’t really need to be kicked up the backside so I’d want someone on the same level."

What do you think about the judges?

"The judges are great. They just add to the show. They all bring their different personalities and I will obviously be looking for their approval but I’ve played professional sport so I am used to taking criticism and taking it on board and working hard to improve on things and that’s what I’ll be doing with every bit of feedback."

Have you got anyone in particular who’ll be coming along to support you?

"Hopefully my brother, who still plays rugby. Matt’s really enthusiastic about dancing. When we were younger we used to learn boy band moves. I should perhaps try to make out that we were slightly busier with our lives back then but we weren’t! Learning moves to impress the girls. My mum and dad love the show, they’re massive fans. All the family will be fighting to come along."

Sixtyplusurfers Competition

Win a Bingo
VIP Night Out

Win a Bingo VIP Night Out

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Win a Bingo VIP Night Out

As if winning big bucks isn’t enough, from the 1st October the National Bingo Game is offering 50 lucky winners* the chance to attend ‘the’ social event of the season: the 2015 Crabbie’s Grand National, and watch the winners gallop home from an exclusive VIP balcony.

Sound like good odds to you? Then get entering! The winner of our fantastic Bingo Night Out competition and your guests will be picked up in a limo and chauffeured to their local venue for a full session of bingo. You will also be served food and drinks with table service provided at the club.

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All players must be aged 18 or over. The National Bingo Game is played under the provisions of The Gambling Act 2005 and under National Bingo Game Rules. Players should always gamble responsibly and play the National Bingo Game within their limits. For more information and advice visit

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    Competition Terms & Conditions

Win an all-inclusive Bingo Night Out with three of your friends

1. One lucky winner will attend an all-inclusive Bingo Night Out together with three of your friends!

2. The prize includes a luxury Limo ride to and from your local Bingo club, tickets to play the main bingo game including the National Bingo Game round, all drinks and food for your group at the venue and the chance to win big money prizes during the course of the evening!

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5. Closing date for entries is 30th October 2014.


Blenheim Palace: Great War House

Julian Fellowes with the 11th Duke Of Marlborough John Spencer Churchill outside Blenheim Palace

Thursday, 2nd October, ITV1
9.00pm - 10.00pm

"When I created Downton Abbey I wanted to tell the story of this very moment in our history. Now I want to tell about the men and women of a real house, Blenheim Palace, the war stories of a real Downton Abbey, says Julian Fellowes

Writer Julian Fellowes delivers a vivid account of how one of the greatest ancestral homes in England was transformed by the First World War in Blenheim Palace: Great War House.

By delving into archives and speaking to experts and relatives of the house’s inhabitants, the author and creator of Downton Abbey tells the stories of the real men and women who worked and lived at Blenheim during the war.

Julian Fellowes

He discovers tales of heroism and tragedy, both upstairs and downstairs, and how WW1 was the making of Blenheim’s most famous son, Winston Churchill. Fellowes learns about the ladies of the household, Consuelo Vanderbilt and Lady Sarah Wilson and the men who went to war including the fate of a lowly clerk.

Built in 1722, Blenheim Palace was, for centuries, a miniature kingdom for its inhabitants. Run by the Dukes of Marlborough the palace was the focal point of the community and around 80 servants worked at the house. There was a set order to life at Blenheim which the First World War disrupted, changing the lives of all those who relied upon the estate.

Before the war, Sonny the 9th Duke of Marlborough married Consuelo Vanderbilt. The Vanderbilt family amassed one of America’s biggest rail and shipping fortunes and Consuelo’s father gave her a dowry.

It was a marriage of convenience rather than love, the Spencer-Churchill’s gained millions from the marriage and Consuelo became a Duchess.

Julian Fellowes

Fellowes explains, “They were married towards the end of 1895 in New York but they took a long honeymoon tour which only really served to show they didn’t like each other very much.”

After having children Consuelo left Blenheim. Sonny founded the Women’s Land Corps, which later became the Women’s Land Army and allowed the library at Blenheim to be used as a convalescent ward. Before the war it would have been used to host grand balls and glittering receptions.

Fellowes says, “This very room transformed into a convalescence ward. I think there’s something very moving in that, wanting to involve the house.”

When war was declared Lady Sarah Wilson, Sonny’s sister, volunteered to help the effort. She travelled to France to set up a hospital, helping the wounded and her husband Colonel Gordon Wilson went to fight on the front line. Lady Sarah’s work looking after the sick and wounded was a world away from her former life in Blenheim.

Julian Fellowes

Fellowes says, “Before the war I don’t think she was a nice person, she was extremely unpleasant to Consuelo when she first arrived at Blenheim, and bullying. It seems to have transformed her really.”

The First World War had a great effect on Winston Churchill who was born at Blenheim Palace. His ancestor John Churchill won a victory over France and was rewarded with Blenheim and became the 1st Duke of Marlborough.

Churchill wanted to make his own mark during the war but as first Lord of the Admiralty he was held responsible for the disastrous invasion at Gallipoli. He was forced out of office and his reputation was ruined. His response was to go to the Western Front himself as an ordinary battalion commander.

Julian Fellowes views the memorial to Blenheim staff killed in World War I

 Julian Fellowes views the memorial to
    Blenheim staff killed in World War I

Fellowes explains, “He decides to go to the front to face the danger and to be with the men who are fighting and very possibly to be killed. He was enormously brave in the face of whatever happened to him.”

“I think Winston Churchill was one of those people who were changed for the better by the First World War. That very aristocratic sense of entitlement, unquestioned, rather arrogant really, seemed to develop into something kinder and more modern. The First World War made him the man to win the Second World War.”

Fellowes also discovers more about Arthur Hine a lowly clerk on Blenheim estate who fought on the frontline at Ypres. Sergeant Hine was a dispatch rider message carrier.

Hine travelled through Antwerp while it was being bombarded and helped a Belgian girl whose parents had both been killed during the bombing, taking her back to England to live with his family. Fellowes meets a relative of Hine’s who has no idea of her ancestor’s heroic past.

Julian Fellowes with the 11th Duke Of Marlborough John Spencer Churchill in the garden at Blenheim Palace

 Julian Fellowes with the 11th Duke Of
  Marlborough John Spencer Churchill 
      in the garden at Blenheim Palace

Finally, Fellowes discovers the fate of Albert Farley man who belonged to a family who for years had painted the rooms at Blenheim. Farley volunteered for service, joining the army before conscription. However documents reveal that he ended up acquiring a bad disciplinary record

Fellowes says, “It’s rather sad isn’t it. You think he volunteered to protect his country and went off brave and it hasn’t gone well from the beginning so the question is what happened to him?”

Fellowes discovers that he received one of the most controversial penalties served out to errant men on the front line, Field Punishment No1. It involved tying the man to a fixed point for two hours a day for 21 days.

Julian Fellowes inside Blenheim Palace

Six weeks after Farley received his worst punishment his war was over. He was reported as missing and accepted as having died. He was one of over a million people who died in the Great War. As well as human fatalities the great houses were casualties too as families had lost heirs, servants were unwilling to return to work, taxes had risen and the great depression followed.

Houses and land were sold off or converted. The 9th Duke refused to accept this change and he dedicated his life to Blenheim spending money on the house and gardens, a legacy, which is continued today by his ancestor, the 11th Duke of Marlborough.

The gardens of Blenheim Palace

Fellowes says, “The Churchill family and in fact the whole Blenheim community had entered the Great War still governed by the ways of the 19th century they emerged from it to find themselves in the 20th.

Blenheim Palace

“The mindset had changed, the clarity of the old world where most people accepted the role they were born to and lived by its rules, that had been replaced by something very different. Better maybe but definitely more uncertain.”