Churchill's Secret

Synopsis: In June 1953, two years after he was re-elected as Prime Minister Winston Churchill collapses following a dinner party at Downing Street. Diagnosed by his doctor Lord Moran as having a stroke there are fears that he may not survive and he is taken to his country home Chartwell. Publicly he is said to be suffering from exhaustion and the newspaper owners consent to printing the deception. As his children arrive to watch over him they feud over son Randolph's drinking and daughter Sarah's less than illustrious film career whilst Winston's wife Clemmie reflects on the loss of another daughter who died in infancy. The Cabinet is informed of events as Moran brings in plain-spoken Yorkshire nurse Millie Appleyard to look after the great man. With her help and his wife's devotion Churchill survives to address the Conservative party conference later in the year, before retiring as premier two years later, the country as a whole being unaware all along of Churchill's secret.
Director(s): Charles Sturridge
  6 nominations.
100 min



Too close, he finds him a bore.

Smiling distance.

5 minute warning.

Nurse Appleyard!

- I've got to go Rosie, I'm late for John.

- Millie, please.

It's Mr Donaldson,

I don't know what's happening.

Get Dr Stroud, he'll be on his way out

heading for the Masons Arms on Praed Street.

And wear that.

Run, Rosie.

Signor De Gasperi.

In drinking to your health

and that of the whole Italian nation

I am mindful that the first people

to conquer these islands in 43 AD

we British have long memories, you know

were the Romans.

Men from your country

built a better way of law and order.

A land free from barbarism.

And gave us hot baths.

Which, throughout my long

and not uneventful life

I have, as my wife would confirm,

partaken twice a day.

Thank you.

I'm sorry you missed John.

He'll see more than enough of me

when we're married.

I dunno what I'm gonna do

when you're in Australia.

Well, I've not gone yet.

I just panicked in there.

Don't blame yourself.

We did everything we could.

Everyone has their time.

We who have lived

through two terrible wars

and now live in the precarious days

of the hydrogen bomb

understand the need to build

a lasting peace between nations.

Therefore, at the Bermuda conference

this summer, I will seek American support

for my personal approach to secure peace

with the new leaders of Soviet Russia

in this, in, in these...


Our po...

In uh, post...

Post-Stalin days.

And in the spirit of peace,

I give you Signor De Gasperi

and the nation of Italy.

Signor De Gasperi and the nation of Italy.

Ladies and gentlemen,

the Prime Minister invites you

to retire to the state drawing room.

- Prime Minister, are you alright?

- What?

Glass of water, perhaps.

- Would you excuse me for just one moment?

- Yes.

Was I laplump? Was I la...

- Were you what, sir?

- The sp, spe...

The speech went very well, sir.

Are you alright?

- Darling?

- Uh, yes, darling?

Would you excuse me a moment?

- Christopher, don't let the waiters in.

- Of course.

Winston, do you think

you're able to stand up?

- He needs an ambulance, Mama.

- He needs his doctor.

Get Lord Moran, Jock, make our excuses

to the Italians and clear the house.

What Italians?

Just hold my hand, Winston, hmm?

Just hold my hand.

Would you give his apologies to De Gasperi

and get them to leave.

Of course.

- Rab.

- Jock, what's going on?

We've got the Americans on the phone, Rab

and we could do with

clearing the house, actually.

Would you give Christopher a hand?


- Lord Moran.

- Jock.

We've been trying you all night, Charles.

Where the hell have you been?

Sussex. Just got your message

half an hour ago, what's happened?

Lord Moran, Prime Minister.

Good morning, Winston.

How are you feeling?

I was thinking about Bermuda.

Let's get you just sitting down, shall we?

- Where exactly is it?

- Not my subject, I'm afraid.

Just sitting, sitting on the edge.

On the edge, that it.

Good, good, gently.

- How are you feeling?

- Good, good.

Now, Winston, could you,

could you just grasp my fingers here?

Just here.

And with this hand,

with your left, that's good.

- Where are my cufflinks?

- You're wearing them, Winston.


I'm sure it's just tiredness.

He's exhausted, Mary. He's 78.

And being Foreign Secretary as well

while Eden's ill.

- What's his first appointment?

- Cabinet at 11.

Cancel it.

I think we should wait

for Lord Moran's report.

- Could you raise both arms for me?

- If I must.

Raise them both, gently, good.

Both arms, Winston, both arms.

Both, yes, good.

Good. That's fine, now, just relax,

just drop. Now...

Do you remember a few years back

you found it difficult

to squeeze the paint out of the tubes?

- The Monte Carlo clutch, yes.

- Well, this could be the same.

Well, just give me a pill.

You put in up in Monte Carlo

with your red pills.

Yes, well, I'll give you something, but...

then you must rest up

'til we find out what's going on.

Very nice. I like to be serenaded

when I'm working.

Now the brain is a very delicate

and complicated thing.

Billions of connections.


- Very precise, is that a medical term?

- No, behave.

If my brain's got billions of connections,

then quite a few will still be working.

I've only ever needed half a dozen

to take a cabinet meeting.

What did the Americans want last night?

Nothing serious.

Eisenhower wanted to go through

the social arrangements.

A little bird tells me Moran is here.

Yes. Just routine.

He's an old man, Chris.

We love him, but it's time he stood aside.

Let Eden take the strain,

for his own good, as well as the party's.

But Anthony's in no shape

to take over at the moment, is he?

He's in America,

getting his gall bladder fixed.

Your man's sicker than Winston.

He'll be alright after

he's been under the knife.

- And when is that?

- Tonight.

- Is the Bermuda conference first?

- Fourth, Prime Minister.

Korea first, then German elections,

then commercial television.

- Stay close.

- Let's let them in.

Is it another stroke?

That's what I suspect.

Now, he needs complete rest,

so this Bermuda trip next week is perfect.

Three weeks at sea, no distractions.

- I'll go and see him.

- I'm afraid he's taking cabinet.

- You let him take cabinet?

- I couldn't stop him.

He's your patient, Charles!

It's your job to stop him.

There was nothing I could do.

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Stewart Harcourt

Stewart Harcourt is a British screenwriter and showrunner. He has created, written, and executive produced the series Maigret (ITV, 2016), Agatha Raisin (Sky, 2016), Love and Marriage (ITV, 2013), Jericho (ITV, 2005) and Hearts and Bones (BBC, 2000-2001). He has written screenplays for Agatha Christie's shows Poirot and Marple, and also adapted the novels Treasure Island for Sky, Dracula for BBC, and Churchill's Secret for ITV. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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