First Churchills 1971 | TV Show Watchlist
The life of John Churchill, the first Duke of Marlborough, is the subject of a 12-part 1971 serial that launched PBS's venerated `Masterpiece Theatre.'
Premiered: January 10, 1971
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The queen continues to depend on John's military skill but coldly dismisses Sarah. Harley and St. John eventually undermine the ailing queen's trust in John, and she strips him of all his offices. John and Sarah live abroad until Anne's successor, King George I, reinstates them and invites them home to live out their days.
Queen Anne rewards John by giving him land at Woodstock and directing that a great palace be built there. Sarah vehemently presses the queen to appoint moderate Whigs to the government to support John. The queen refuses, and the rift in their relationship is adroitly exploited by Sarah's cousin, Abigail Hill.
After a string of victories, John is made Duke of Marlborough by a grateful Queen Anne and given an income to support his new social standing. Sarah and John suffer a crushing personal tragedy, but the next spring John leads the allies to a brilliant victory at Blenheim.
William publicly embraces Anne but privately makes it clear his motives are purely political. Eager to maintain the fragile peace with France, the king also reconciles with John, reinstating him as privy counselor and appointing him to oversee the education of the young Duke of Gloucester. Sarah arranges for her cousin, Abigail, to become an aide to Princess Anne.
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- Premiered: January 10, 1971
- Rating: None
- Premise: The life of John Churchill, the first Duke of Marlborough, is the subject of a 12-part 1971 serial that launched PBS's venerated `Masterpiece Theatre.' (more)