The British Isles famously held out against the Nazis during World War II -- except for one unlucky corner of the empire. A five-part tale of collaboration, resistance, loss, and love, Island at War dramatizes the fate of the Channel Islands, occupied by German troops in 1940 as a prelude to the planned invasion of Britain.
Plot Revealed Below!
Episode 1 | Episode 2 | Episode 3 | Episode 4 | Episode 5
Out fishing in French waters, policeman Wilf Jonas of St. Gregory in the Channel Islands witnesses British soldiers being cut down as they try to escape from the Germans. Back on the island, James Dorr, deputy head of the government, is unhappily married to Felicity. When news comes of the imminent arrival of the Germans, Felicity decides to leave James and return to England, but she is caught in a bombing raid at the harbor. Having come so close to death, she resolves to stay and support James. Meanwhile, Cassie Mahy runs a successful grocery store with her dreamy husband Urban. Urban is given a photography shop by the Jewish Mr. Isaaks who is fleeing the island. Having failed to find a decent boat to ensure the safe evacuation of his family, Urban is thrilled to have the distraction of the shop, which he explores with his daughters -- June, a cabaret singer and Angelique, a government worker. Later, Urban is killed at the harbor during the air raid. Wilf and his wife, Kathleen, have managed to evacuate their daughter Mary to England, but their son Colin refuses to go. German commander Baron von Rheingarten quickly takes control. At Urban's wake, Cassie gets drunk and accuses Felicity of sleeping with her husband.
Cassie refuses to serve Germans in her shop and receives a visit from Oberleutnant Walker, who all but shoots her in reprisal. Meanwhile, Angelique and June re-open the photography shop with the help of Zelda, a Jewish shop assistant who is hiding her identity. When German airman Bernhardt asks June if they can develop his film, Angelique accuses her of fraternizing. James shows the baron around his home. When Felicity is rude, the baron decides to move in. Philip Dorr, who has been in the army in England, secretly arrives on the island on a reconnaissance mission with a comrade, Eugene La Salle. They split up and Philip spends a few days with his parents, hiding from the Germans by night and pretending to be a gardener by day. At their aborted beach rendezvous with a submarine, Philip and Eugene are surprised by a German soldier. They shoot him, then flee and hide out in the Jonas' barn, as a manhunt gets underway. Bernhardt courts Angelique, getting a very chilly reception, while the fiercely anti-Semitic Walker does the same with Zelda.
Kathleen's wheeler-dealer brother Sheldon Leveque mysteriously has access to everything forbidden by the Germans, including a truck. He drives Philip and Eugene to another farm where they hide. James visits and persuades Eugene to give himself up in uniform with a story that he landed on the island by accident en route from France. Philip can't do the same, since the Germans know him as a gardener. When Eugene surrenders, Wilf's confused mother accidentally reveals his secret and he is condemned to death as a spy. Meanwhile, the baron warms to Felicity and even seeks out her company during her solitary walks in the garden. Angelique is forced to take French prostitutes to a VD clinic to be examined, where a guard insists that she be examined as well. Bernhardt intervenes to save her. Later, they have tea together. Harbormaster Wimmel discovers that Cassie is running a black market business from the back of her shop. Her options are to join forces with him or he'll have her imprisoned. Wilf, who is now the baron's driver, witnesses Eugene's execution, as does a distraught Philip, who, as "the gardener," is then forced to cut down the tree where it happened.
James is becoming suspicious of the baron's relationship with Felicity and challenges him to a fight. James wins, punching the baron in the face. Missing his own sons, the baron takes a shine to Philip, whom he knows as "Mr. Brotherson" and helps him repair the wall around the house. Walker has become obsessed with Zelda, insisting that she accompany him to the cinema to see an anti-Jewish film. When he is put in charge of removing any Jews from the island, he discovers Zelda's secret: she is a German Jew who registered for evacuation but never left the island. He's impressed by her disguise and willing to let her remain. But she now has to sleep with him. The next day when June opens up the photography shop, there's no sign of Zelda, who has gone underground to escape Walker. Angelique, now deeply in love with Bernhardt, is terrified that he's been killed in a German air raid on England. Still spying, Philip takes photos of German fortifications on the island, accompanied by Angelique posing as his girlfriend. She is using the opportunity to search for Bernhardt. Finally she sees him and, telling Philip she's not well, she is reunited with her German lover.
Cassie is now sleeping with Wimmel and enjoying the luxury food items they can get on the black market. In a back room behind a cupboard, Cassie is hiding Zelda from Walker. Philip is determined to escape back to England and report on German fortifications. Wilf offers Philip his boat, and a plan is hatched to get Philip and Zelda off the island together. Felicity meets the baron in the garden and they talk about their sons. He has just heard that one of his sons has been killed in the war. Wilf gets Wimmel to accompany him on a fishing trip so that he can maneuver his boat round to the meeting place, where Zelda and Philip are hiding in the sand dunes. Meanwhile, Wilf's son Colin has bought a gun from a German soldier. When he sees Wilf alone in a boat with Wimmel, he presumes the German has kidnapped his father and starts shooting. Wimmel thinks it's a trap and calls for reinforcements. Philip and Zelda manage to get to the boat and start it, but are quickly intercepted. Zelda manages to slip overboard unseen, but Philip is arrested and his photos of the German fortifications are found. Philip, Wilf, and James are all implicated in the plot and their fate hangs in the baron's hands.
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