Countdown to War


'A remarkable dramatic interpretation of events leading to the declaration of war... It offers superb acting' The Sunday Times. 27 August 1989 August 1989

'Granada... has done something original, it's not easy to use 'McKellen has absolute sureness in the visuals' The Guardian 31 August 1989

'Granada... has done something original, it's not easy to use recognisable actors in roles which have become household names, but the experiment not only works but is superb entertainment' Daily Mail, 31 August 1989

'Granada's unrivalled reputation as producers of docudrama... is sufficient on its own to whet the appetite for Countdown to War... The lead actors' characterisations manage to exert a vice- like hold over the attention' The Independent, 31 August 1989

'Harwood's script makes coherent sense of a tangled story and brings out well the shades of opinion within each camp... lan McKellen's Hitler, shrewdly underplayed and with thankfully no attempt at a German accent, is a substantial piece of acting, as is Michael Aldridge's weary, sensitive and anguished Chamberlain' The Times. 31 August 1989

' . .. the production was of the highest quality. Michael Aldridge's Chamberlain was a tragi-comic turn... to date, the BBC newsroom and Granada have had the best.war' The Independent 1 September 1989 Express, 1 September 1989

'Harwood knows how to write terse dialogue; the tension, as everyone bluffed, counter-bluffed.and generally acted like chickens with their heads cut off, was very well sustained' Daily Mail. 1 September 1989

'... with the aid of a few shadows and a close scrutiny of the newsreels, Ian McKellen was Hitler. He played him as a gauche marionette of a man, elbows and knees jerking and eyes rolling, yet there was no trace of caricature.’ The Sunday Times, 3 September 1989

Countdown to War
Words from Ian McKellen
Video Clip
Ian McKellen's Home Page

Acting Shakespeare Ian McKellen DVD