The Churchills

Series 1 - 3. Grand Strategies

Grand Strategies
Radio Times
Review by:
Alison Graham

Dr David Starkey is a bit of a Winston Churchill fan. As we reach the end of his series, Starkey takes us through Churchill’s ascent to power in 1940, and that electrifying first speech he made to the Commons as Premier: “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.” He looks at parallels between Churchill’s military strategies and those of John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough, who led Britain and her allies against Louis XIV of France. Churchill’s biography of Marlborough was essential reading for US President Franklin D Roosevelt, who kept multiple copies close to hand.

About this programme

3/3. Historian David Starkey describes how Winston Churchill drew on the lessons of his ancestor John to lead the UK through the Second World War. At two key moments, the prime minister's strategic sense helped avert disaster, and in both decisions, the influence of the Duke of Marlborough is apparent. Starkey argues that it was Winston's ability to control events by giving them a narrative meaning that enabled him to shape world history long after his fall from power. Last in the series.

Cast and crew


David Starkey


David Sington
Executive Producer
David Sington
Heather Walsh