Jennie: Lady Randolph Churchill

ITV (ended 1974)


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  • The life of Jennie Jerome, an American heiress who married Lord Randolph Churchill and gave birth to Winston Churchill just seven months later; she later married two men younger than her son.

    The tendency of British television drama to tug its forelock respectfully when dealing with the aristocrats of yesteryear is all-too-strongly present in this series about Winston Churchill's American mother. It doesn't sink to the hagiographic level of the 1972 movie "Young Winston" (although that movie's existence is probably why this series was commissioned), but the unfortunate cause of Lord Randolph's premature death (syphilis) is not dwelt on long, and there's no very strong hint as to why Jennie was known throughout her life in England by the nickname "Lady Randy". Fortunately, the series does have a marvellous leading lady in the spirited and immensely likeable Lee Remick, and it's great fun watching Warren Clarke, in days long before "Dalziel and Pascoe", pretending to be Winston Churchill. Just don't believe all of it.