Following a period of mass unemployment, hyperinflation, social disorder and industrial unrest, democracy has been swept away amid a raft of security measures; law and order have been restored under a new regime, whose totalitarian rule is enforced by uniformed paramilitaries known as the Guardians. Behind the slogan ‘Make Britain Great’, the outwardly benign regime suppresses all opposition, while the Guardians, taking orders from their shadowy leader, the General, have become the true holders of power. There are voices of dissent, however; a loose affiliation of resistance groups, collectively known as Quarmby, has begun a clandestine struggle against the regime. But opposing factions quickly emerge within the movement – and with them, the inescapable moral dilemmas faced by all those who must use force to achieve their ends.
The Guardians’ chilling vision of an Orwellian near-future has remained unseen since its original airing in 1971. Created by Rex Firkin and Vincent Tilsley, whose combined credits include The Prisoner, Manhunt, The Death of Adolf Hitler and The Forsyte Saga, the series anticipated many more recent dramatisations featuring similarly dystopian landscapes, and has been praised for its insightful, intelligent handling of its subject; the grey area in which resistance tactics may disturbingly mirror those of the oppressor is acknowledged, and ambivalent, doubt-ridden characters exist on both sides. Available here for the very first time in any format, this release contains all 13 hour-long episodes.
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