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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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.
Anne maintains her loyalty to Sarah despite intense pressure from the queen. As James's army advances, John is arrested for high treason. Without John in command, William's army suffers two years of costly defeats against the French. The queen falls gravely ill.
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- Premiered: January 10, 1971
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- 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)