Fair Stood the Wind for France

Starring: David Beames and Cécile Paoli
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: PG
Available 07 August 2006

Over the skies of war time France a Lancaster bomber crew bails out of their stricken craft. Lost in the French countryside the crew are taken in by a local family. When the captain, John Franklin, becomes ill from his injuries he must remain behind. Time enough to recover. Time enough to falls in love with a beautiful French girl, Francoise...

Fair Stood the Winds for France was directed by Martyn Friend and adapted by Julian Bond from the original novel by H. E. Bates. The show won a BAFTA in 1981 for best original score for Carl Davis. The show's four episodes are spread across two discs, with each episode running at around fifty-five minutes. The show has no real big names attached to it - rather the actors are of a type where you know you've seen them somewhere, but your not sure where. For the most part they have all had fairly successful careers in television.

OK, so this is a love story and very much a chick flick, so expect long ponderous looks of unfulfilled desire. Eileen Way plays the stressed out Grandmother, who is less than happy about the danger the airmen represent. Bernard Kay plays the stoic father, who immediately offers the airmen help. The cast do a good job with a script which lacks a lot of tension. In fact, apart from a few moments, the best way to describe the show is languid. It simmers and teases but never really excites - but then it's a character piece looking at the growing love between Franklin and Francois.

Extras on the disc are a bit thin on the ground with only filmographies of some of the actors and a bibliography and biography of H. E. Bates, the author. The disc comes with optional subtitles. Picture quality is a little on the soft side, making the whole thing a little fuzzy. Audio is stereo.

Charles Packer

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