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BBC Tumbledown DVD Cover.jpg
Written byCharles Wood
Directed byRichard Eyre
Composer(s)Richard Hartley
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
Producer(s)Richard Broke[1]
CinematographyAndrew Dunn
Editor(s)Ken Pearce
Running time113 minutes
Original networkBBC1
Original release31 May 1988[2]

Tumbledown is a 1988 BBC Television drama film set during the Falklands War. Directed by Richard Eyre, it stars Colin Firth, Paul Rhys, and David Calder.


The film centres on the experiences of Robert Lawrence MC (played by Colin Firth), an officer of the Scots Guards during the Falklands War of 1982.[3] While fighting at the Battle of Mount Tumbledown, Lawrence is shot in the head by an Argentine sniper, and left paralysed on his left side.[4] He then must learn to adjust to his new disability.


  • BAFTA TV Awards 1989
    • Won: Best Film Cameraman: Andrew Dunn
    • Won: Best Make Up: Shaunna Harrison
    • Won: Best Single Drama: Richard Broke, Richard Eyre & Charles Wood[5]
    • Nominated: Best Actor: Colin Firth[6]
    • Nominated: Best Costume Design: Michael Burdle
    • Nominated: Best Design: Geoff Powell
    • Nominated: Best Film Editor: Ken Pearce
    • Nominated: Best Film Sound: Graham Ross, Ken Hams & Christopher Swanton
    • Nominated: Best Original Television Music: Richard Hartley
  • RTS Television Award 1989
    • Won: Best Actor (Male): Colin Firth
    • Won: Best Make Up Design: Shaunna Harrison
    • Won: Best Single Play: Charles Wood
  • Prix Italia 1988 Prix Italia, Winners 1949 - 2010, RAI


The film sparked enormous controversy when first aired in 1988, in part because it conveyed the flat indifference shown by government, society and public to the returning wounded from the Falkands War - this content forms much of the story,[7] as Lawrence struggles to come to terms with his terrible injuries, and to face a life in which he cannot do the thing he is trained to do, the thing he loves: soldiering.

The film also triggered controversy by presenting an unvarnished portrait of the protagonist – for example, his joy in the brutalities of war and a stunning flashback scene toward the end which shows him exulting at the top of Mount Tumbledown.[8] The film portrays Lawrence's love of the military life as much as it portrays his feelings of abandonment and bitterness as he tries to cope with his wounds, with little help from the government that sent him into battle.[9]

Lead actor Colin Firth is reported to have said that the political left and right hated the movie because it did not conform to any fixed ideology.[10]

Media information[edit]

Penguin Scriptbook (1988 reprint)

DVD release[edit]

  • Released on Region 2 DVD by BBC Video on 2007-03-26."Tumbledown". BBC Shop. 26 March 2007. Retrieved 22 July 2008.
  • The series was included in The Falklands 25th Commemorative Box Set with The Falklands Play."The Falklands 25th Commemorative Box Set". BBC Shop. 26 March 2007. Retrieved 22 July 2008.

Script book[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hayward, Anthony (23 April 2014). "Richard Broke: Television producer who found himself attacked by the Tories for 'Tumbledown' and 'The Monocled Mutinee'[sic]". The Independent. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  2. ^ BBC Four - Tumbledown
  3. ^ Lawson, Mark (14 April 2013). "Falklands on film: how broadcasters have handled Margaret Thatcher's war". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  4. ^ Bicheno, Hugh (2006). Razor's Edge - The Unofficial History of the Falklands War. London: Phoenix. p. 280. ISBN 978-0-7538-2186-2.
  5. ^ "Television in 1989". BAFTA. British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  6. ^ Johnston, Sheila. "Firth, Colin 1960 -". Screen Online. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  7. ^ Jackson, James (26 March 2016). "Tumbledown (BBC Store)". The Times (71868). p. 23.
  8. ^ Taylor, Val (1992). "10 - Playing Soldiers: the politics of casting in Tumbledown and Born on the Fourth of July". In Holderness, Graham. The Politics and Theatre of Drama. New York: St Martins Press. p. 184. ISBN 978-0-333-51933-2.
  9. ^ Nikkah, Roya (10 June 2012). "Falklands veteran's tale set for West End". The Telegraph. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  10. ^ Maloney, Alison (2011). Colin Firth - The Biography. London: O'Mara Books. p. 72. ISBN 9781843176886.

External links[edit]