We’ll Meet Again (1982) is an excellent World War II mini-series that was shown on the BBC in the early eighties, and later PBS in the United States. The thirteen one-hour episodes concern the impact that the 1943 arrival of 2,000 Air Force servicemen had on the small town of Market Wetherby, Suffolk. As one of the locals puts it about the Americans, “They’re overpaid, oversexed, and over here.”
Much of the tension in the early part of the series revolves around the resentments many of the more staid Brits have towards these gung-ho flyboys. This, coupled with the fact that many young English women are decidedly smitten with them results in some predictable clashes. Most of the action takes place in the local market and pub, where the two groups often come into contact.
As time goes on, and more and more men are lost during bombing raids, the attitudes noticeably soften. There is even a wedding between the pub-owner’s daughter, and an airman. When the groom is forced to bail out over Brussels the very next day, the impact of the war hits the village in a profound way.
There are a number of romantic subplots in the series, the most notable being between Dr. Helen Dereham (Susannah York), and Major Jim Kiley (Michael Shannon). Helen’s husband is fighting in North Aftrica, and when he returns in a wheelchair, the three find themselves mired in a hopeless love triangle.
What sets We’ll Meet Again apart from other wartime romances is the action it incorporates. Utilizing both stock footage and newly shot scenes, the bombing missions the airmen go on are very realistic. They also mitigate some of the more maudlin elements of the story. No matter how overwrought some of the scenes get, there is always the knowledge that this could be the last night of the men’s lives.
Another factor that makes this four-DVD set worth seeing is the location shooting. Many of the original structures from the WWII-era were still standing when the series was filmed, which gives it an uncannily authentic look. The fact that a mix of English and American actors were used also adds credibility.
Nearly 30 years later, We’ll Meet Again still stands up as a very good wartime romantic drama/action mini-series, and one worth seeing for fans of the genre.