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Close to the Enemy is a seven-part television series, mostly set in a bomb-damaged London hotel in the aftermath of the Second World War.
The drama follows intelligence officer Captain Callum Ferguson whose last task for the Army is to ensure that a captured German scientist, Dieter, starts working for the British RAF on urgently developing the jet engine. With the background of the emerging Cold War, it is clear to all that it's crucial for British national security that cutting-edge technology is made available to the armed forces as quickly as possible. Callum uses unorthodox methods in his attempt to convince Dieter to work with the British and eventually a friendship develops between the two men, but soon tensions arise as all is not as it seems. Over the course of the series, Callum encounters a number of other characters whose stories all intertwine. These characters include Victor, Callum's younger brother, struggling to deal with psychological trauma caused by his experience in the fighting; Harold, a Foreign Office official who reveals some startling truths about the outbreak of the war; Rachel, an enchanting Anglophile American engaged to his best friend; and Kathy, a tough young woman working for the War Crimes Unit, fighting to bring war criminals who escaped prosecution to justice. All these characters are trying to rebuild and move their lives forward in the aftermath of the war, a war that scarred them all so deeply. Close to the Enemy was first screened on BBC2 in November 2016 in a production by Little Island Productions. It starred Jim Sturgess, Freddie Highmore, Charlotte Riley, Phoebe Fox, August Diehl, Robert Glenister, Alfie Allen, Charity Wakefield, Angela Bassett, Lindsay Duncan and Alfred Molina.
About the Author
Stephen Poliakoff, born in December 1952, was appointed writer-in-residence at the National Theatre for 1976 and the same year won the Evening Standard's Most Promising Playwright Award for Hitting Town and City Sugar. In 1980 Poliakoff won a BAFTA Award for the Best Single Play for Caught on a Train, the Evening Standard's Best British Film Award for Close My Eyes in 1992, the Critics' Circle Best Play Award for Blinded by the Sun in 1996 and the Prix Italia and the Royal Television Society Best Drama Award for Shooting the Past in 1999. His plays and films include Clever Soldiers (1974), The Carnation Gang (1974), Hitting Town (1975), City Sugar (1975), Heroes (1975), Strawberry Fields (1977), Stronger than the Sun (1977), Shout Across the River (1978), American Days (1979), The Summer Party (1980), Bloody Kids (1980), Caught on a Train (1980), Favourite Nights (1981), Soft Targets (1982), Runners (1983), Breaking the Silence (1984), Coming in to Land (1987), Hidden City (1988), She's Been Away (1989), Playing with Trains (1989), Close My Eyes (1991), Sienna Red (1992), Century (1994), Sweet Panic (1996), Blinded by the Sun (1996), The Tribe (1997), Food of Love (1998), Talk of the City (1998), Remember This (1999), Shooting the Past (1999), Perfect Strangers (2001), for which he won the Dennis Potter Award at the 2002 BAFTAs and Best Writer and Best Drama at the Royal Television Society Awards, and The Lost Prince (2003), winner of three Emmy Awards in 2005, including Outstanding Mini Series. His work for the BBC includes Friends and Crocodiles (2006) and Gideon's Daughter (also 2006), which won two Golden Globes and a Peabody Award in 2007, Joe's Palace (2007) and Capturing Mary (2007), which was Emmy-nominated and won a BAFTA.More recently, Stephen released the feature film Glorious '39 (2010) with BBC Films. Stephen's latest stage play My City premiered at the Almeida Theatre in 2011 and his BBC television series Dancing On The Edge (2013) achieved international acclaim, winning a Golden Globe. His latest television series, Close To The Enemy premiered in 2016 on BBC Two.