The Gathering Storm (HBO)
2002 | A Scott Free Production, in association with HBO Films and BBC Films
By the mid-1930s, 60-year-old Winston Churchill (Albert Finney)is all but irrelevant to British politics. His family fortune has been wrecked by the stock market crash. His estate is a never-ending string of expenses. His dear wife, Clemmie (Vanessa Redgrave), is deeply frustrated by Churchill’s private confusion. The man himself is beset with depression, the “black dog” that hounds him in such periods. Still, from his beloved country home, Chartwell, he looks hard at the political circumstances defining Europe. He looks to the future and the past while writing the history of his forbearers. What he sees is the gathering storm that will become World War II. With the help of his assistant, Mrs. P (Celia Imrie), and political allies Brendan Bracken (Anthony Brophy) and Desmond Morton (Jim Broadbent), he maintains a place on the political spectrum. A young foreign office administrator, Ralph Wigram (Linus Roache) provides him with top-secret foreign policy documents and with these he is able to direct attention to his concerns. The Gathering Storm follows events through Churchill’s appointment as First Lord of the Admiralty and points toward his rise to his most famous service as Prime Minister. The outstanding cast includes Tom Hiddleston as Randolph Churchill, Derek Jacobi as Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin, Tom Wilkinson as Sir Robert Vansittart, Ronnie Barker as David Inches, Lena Headey as Ava Wigram, and Hugh Bonneville as Ivo Pettifer. The Gathering Storm was written by Hugh Whitemore from a story by Whitemore and Larry Ramin. Executive Producers Ridley Scott and Tony Scott, with Julie Payne, guided the project, which was directed by Richard Loncraine. Lisa Ellzey served as Co-Executive Producer with Producers Frank Doelger and David M. Thompson. Kary Antholis was HBO Executive-in-Charge. A Peabody Award goes to The Gathering Storm, a portrait of a 20th Century hero’s return from political obscurity to direct the destiny of a nation.