By Will Barber Taylor
Originally broadcast on BBC One in 1993, A Foreign Field tells the story of two World War Two veterans who return to the battle fields where they fought to visit the grave of a friend. During their visit they discover much more, re-opening many old wounds. Written by Roy Clarke (Last of the Summer Wine). DVD extras include D-Day facts, subtitles and a picture gallery
The Second World War has a particular place in the imagination of the British people. For many, it is seen as this country’s finest hour and one that should be remembered for decades to come. For others, it is a horrific and terrifying early memory that reminds us all of the fragility of life and what we have to do to defy the forces of evil. This is all felt strongly but with a touch of humour in Roy Clarke’s contribution to the Screen One collection, A Foreign Field. Clarke’s usual comedic touch is felt throughout the drama and he ably mixes dramatic overtones with lighter, comedic moments to ensure that the drama gains both our empathy and our amusement.
Clarke’s adeptness at portraying ordinary human life is fully demonstrated in the scenes between Leo McKern’s character Cyril with Alec Guinness’ Amos. The two have known each other for decades and Clarke gives a tenderness to their friendship. This central friendship of loyalty between the two is one of the most engaging parts of the drama and is more heartfelt than the romantic subplot involving Cyril and Ralph (Edward Herrman)’s search for Angelique who planned to meet both of them in 1944. Clarke does, however, interject a good dose of humour into this part of the drama and therefore it is never overly annoying.
Leo McKern is excellent, as always. He gives Cyril an air of reduced authority that is enjoyable in its comedic richness. McKern also plays Cyril’s empathy extremely well and the poignancy of him coming to terms with his lost youth is both satisfying and heartfelt.
A Foreign Field is an engaging and interesting drama that captivates its audience with its wit and ensures that it is worth watching for its warmth and devotion to its characters. I’d highly recommend purchasing it as you will be in for a real treat.
You can buy a Foreign Field from Amazon here.