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Monday, September 20, 2010

TV Tie-ins: A Family at War


A Family at War was an astonishing achievement for Granada television, running a total of 52 episodes over three seasons (of 13, 19 and 20 episodes) in 1970-72. The saga of the Ashton family, which attracted up to 25 million viewers, knocking Coronation Street and Morecambe and Wise off the top of the ratings, was created by John Finch, a former scriptwriter and script editor on Coronation Street. Finch went on to create Sam, Rooms, This Year Next Year, The Spoils of War and Flesh and Blood.

The series starred Colin Douglas as Edwin Ashton and Shelagh Fraser as his wife, Jean. The family included school teacher Margaret (Leslie Nunnerly), younger sister Freda (Barbara Flynn), University student Philip (Keith Drinkell), son David (Colin Campbell) and his wife Sheila (Coral Atkins); adding a touch of the nasty is the family's maternal Uncle, Sefton (John McKelvie) and his rather nicer son Tony (Trevor Bowen). The series was produced by Richard Doubleday and Michael Cox. IMDB.

A Family at War by Kathleen Baker.
Mayflower 583-11821-6, (Nov) 1970, 157pp, 30p.
——, 2nd imp., 1971; 3rd imp., 1971; 4th imp., 1971; 5th imp., 1972.
Grafton Books 0586-20920-4, (Aug) 1989, 157pp, £2.99.
A novel based on Granada Television's compelling saga of the Ashton family of Liverpool in the early years of World War II.
__Here you will meet again the characters who captivated a nation-wide audience—Jean and Edwin Ashton, their children and the spouses and lovers with whom their different lives become entwined.
__But a wider readership than those who followed the TV series will enjoy this book as an excellent piece of storytelling on its own—a fine example of the English family novel, which will never fail to appeal.
A Family at War: To the Turn of the Tide by Jonathan Powell.
Mayflower 583-12064-4, (Nov) 1971, 224pp, 30p.
——, 2nd imp., 1971; 3rd imp., 1972.
Grafton Books 0586-20921-2, (Aug) 1989.
Granada Television has achieved new popular success with the second year's episodes in their series A Family at War.
__Following the earlier volume which recaptured the drama and the vivid atmosphere of the first set of TV films, here is a new novel covering the unfolding story of the Ashton family. Along with the rest of the nation, they plunge into the bitter heart of the war to save civilization.
__Love and jealousy, loyalty and temptation—these are some of the emotions which affect all men and women in times of crisis; emotions portrayed on the television screen, and now again as engrossing prose fiction.
A Family at War: Towards Victory by Roy Russell.
Mayflower 583-12142-X, (Apr) 1972, 205pp, 30p.
——, 2nd imp., 1972.
Granada Books 0586-20922-0, (Aug) 1989, 205pp, £2.99.
As World War II winds turbulently towards the relief of peace, men and women everywhere find new personal problems taking over from the old.
__Close relations torn away, prospects changed for better as well as for worse, personal ties upset and reformed—these affect the Ashtons of Liverpool as much as any other family.
__The final episodes of their saga, created and dramatized by Granada Television for popular nation-wide viewing, again make heart-warming reading as a novel.

1 comment:

Mike W said...

It was a great series with a surprising number of the major characters not surviving the whole saga.