Devised by John Elliot, 'Fall of Eagles' is a stunning dramatisation of the declining years and final collapse of three of the most powerful European dynasties - the Hapsburgs, Romanovs and Hohenzollerns - between the mid-19th century and the end of the First World War. The series focuses on the tempestuous reigns of Emperor Franz Josef of Austria-Hungary, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany.
Lengthy but gripping
- Fall of Eagles review by Pete W
Nowadays, you are unlikely to see a 13 part series on the TV analysing the fall of the great European dynasties. But although this series of plays covers a lot of ground, it provides a good historical examination of Europe between 1848 and 1918. Occasionally, it bites off more than it can chew with the episode about Lenin's (Patrick Stewart - excellent) takeover of the Marxist opposition to the Tsar being rather impenetrable. A vast cast of 1970s stalwarts with some surprising appearances by Captain Peacock as Prince Albert and by most of the cast of Last of the Summer Wine as various characters such as Rasputin, von Luddendorf and assorted Russian politicians. The main characters are well cast with Charles Kay and Gayle Honeycutt as the Tsar and Tsarina - indecisive in the case of Nicholas and increasingly deranged in the case of the Tsarina. Barry Foster is particularly good as the Kaiser. At many points you start to feel sympathetic towards Wilhelm only to have that sympathy dashed by another piece of arrogance or insensitivity. You really do feel that the fall of the German, Russian and Austro-Hungarian empires was unavoidable given who was at the head of each dynasty.