Island at War

Island at War is a British television series that tells the story of the German occupation of the Channel Islands. It primarily focuses on three local families: the upper class Dorrs, the middle class Mahys, and the working class Jonases, and four German officers. The fictional island of St. Gregory serves as a stand-in for the real-life islands Guernsey and Jersey, and the story is compiled from the events on both islands.

Island at War
Written byStephen Mallatratt
StarringJames Wilby
Clare Holman
Owen Teale
Julia Ford
Philip Glenister
Saskia Reeves
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series1
No. of episodes6
Executive producersSita Williams
Andy Harries
Running timeapprox. 398 min
Original networkITV
Original release11 July (2004-07-11) 
15 August 2004 (2004-08-15)

Produced by Granada Television in Manchester,[1] Island at War had an estimated budget of £9,000,000 and was filmed on location in the Isle of Man from August 2003 to October 2003. When the series was shown in the UK, it appeared in six 70-minute episodes.


  • James Wilby as James Dorr
  • Clare Holman as Felicity Dorr
  • Sam Heughan as Phillip Dorr (aka Mr. Brotherson)
  • Owen Teale as Wilf Jonas
  • Julia Ford as Kathleen Jonas
  • Sean Gallagher as Sheldon Leveque
  • Saskia Reeves as Cassie Mahy
  • Julian Wadham as Urban Mahy
  • Joanne Froggatt as Angelique Mahy
  • Samantha Robinson as June Mahy
  • Louisa Clein as Zelda Kay
  • Philip Glenister as Baron Von Rheingarten
  • Daniel Flynn as Captain Muller
  • Colin Tierney as Oberwachtmeister Wimmel
  • Conor Mullen as Oberleutnant Walker
  • Andrew Havill as Oberleutnant Flach
  • Laurence Fox as Bernhardt Tellemann
  • Richard Dempsey as Eugene La Salle
  • Ann Rye as Ada Jonas
  • Sean Ward as Colin Jonas


No. in
No. in
Title Original air date
11"Eve of War"11 July 2004 (2004-07-11)
The invasion by the Germans of the Channel Island St. Gregory appears imminent, and evacuations are begun.
22"Living With the Enemy"18 July 2004 (2004-07-18)
The occupation by the Germans begins resulting in clashes with the local population.
33"To Catch a Spy"25 July 2004 (2004-07-25)
The hunt for the second spy on the Island continues.
44"Strange Mercies"1 August 2004 (2004-08-01)
As French prostitutes arrive for the Germans, the romance between Bernhardt and Angelique grows. Zelda goes into hiding with Cassie.
55"Unexpected Mercies"8 August 2004 (2004-08-08)
The threatened arrest of Eugene's parents by the Baron leads to increased defiance of the islanders. Bernhardt goes on a bombing mission. Cassie begins an affair.
66"Unusual Successes"15 August 2004 (2004-08-15)
June discovers that Angelique is in love with Bernhardt. Walker locates the man who has injured June and beats him to death. James gives Philip information he has on the Germans on the island. Sheldon agrees to take Zelda and Philip to England, but plans go awry.


Overall, the miniseries earned more favourable reviews in the United States than in the United Kingdom. In a review by Anita Gates for The New York Times, Gates wrote, "You can call 'Island at War' a soap opera, as some British television critics have, but if that's true this soap opera is a gripping, poetic one—about moral courage in many guises. You might also call it a drama of manners."[2] New York magazine called the series "reasonably absorbing but no great classic."[3] In the Channel Islands themselves, the series faced widespread criticism in the local press due to inaccuracy, mispronunciation of names (for example, 'Mahy' was pronounced 'Mah-hee' rather than the correct 'Ma'yee'), and the fact that the series was filmed not on the islands themselves, but the Isle of Man. The Guernsey Press noted that "the programme caused outrage among many people who accused the producers of distorting Guernsey history."[4]

DVD release

The complete DVD collection was released in 2008, by Acorn Media UK. The DVD received a second release in 2017 by Network.

Cancelled second series

Although highly successful during its initial transmission the series ended, rather abruptly. The writer Stephen Mallatratt died from cancer shortly after the series broadcast. This, coupled with the high production cost and controversy over historical accuracy, meant the series came to an end. Each episode cost around £1 million to produce.


  1. "Company credits for "Island at War"". IMDB.
  2. Gates, Anita (21 January 2005). "When Hitler Arrived at England's Door". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 April 2018.
  3. Leonard, John. "Island at War". New York. Retrieved 30 April 2018.
  4. "Island at War axed". Guernsey Press. 26 October 2004. Retrieved 30 April 2018.
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