Bodyguard [1992]

Churchill's Bodyguard is a great way to explore the life and times of Winston Churchill: through the experiences of his personal bodyguard, Walter H. Thompson, who worked tirelessly to keep the great man from harm for nearly 18 years. Shaping a massive amount of archival footage into a narrative at once historically familiar but freshly energized by an emphasis on Thompson's point-of-view, Churchill's Bodyguard is historical suspense. The 13-part series begins with a 1911 incident in which the 35-year-old, then-Home Secretary Churchill led police on an effort to apprehend anarchists who robbed a bank. Watching from the London crowd, Thompson witnessed a bullet barely miss the future prime minister. In a few years, Thomspon would be in proximity to Churchill again, this time guarding him from IRA assassination threats. Part of the story in Churchill's Bodyguard is the stark contrast between the two men. Thompson was the son of an insurance salesman; Churchill enjoyed many advantages in his wealthy family. Yet if Churchill was one of the key figures keeping the civilized world intact against the Axis threat during World War II, Thompson, a Scotland Yard detective, kept him on his rendezvous with destiny. Among the amazing stories are numerous attempts on Churchill's life from the likes of Irish terrorists, Indian assassins, Hitler's hit men and Luftwaffe fighters and U Boats, V2 rockets striking London, hidden explosives, and random crazed gunmen. But the intrepid Churchill marched on, even surviving pneumonia (with Thompson at his side) and doubts about crucial allies Roosevelt and Stalin. The intrigue surrounding Churchill's conferences with his American and Russian counterparts in Tehran and elsewhere is all here, as are remarkable encounters with Lawrence of Arabia and Dwight Eisenhower. --Tom Keogh

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