Danger and glam­our!

Jes­sica Raine goes back to the 1960s to play a mil­i­tary wife in the Mid­dle EastÉ

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n the mid-1960s, the Bri­tish Army were strug­gling to keep order in the Ye­meni port of Aden, one of the last re­main­ing colonies in the di­min­ish­ing Bri­tish Em­pire.

The con­stant danger fac­ing the army in the re­gion at the time is now re­called in a pow­er­ful BBC1 drama cen­tred on a Royal Mil­i­tary Po­lice unit in Aden in 1965.

The se­ries sees the sol­diers un­der threat from lo­cal in­sur­gents, while their per­sonal lives are ex­plored through the eyes of the of­fi­cers’ wives, in­clud­ing Ali­son Laith­waite, the glam­orous but un­happy wife of Lieu­tenant Ed Laith­waite.

Ali­son, played by Jes­sica Raine, causes ruc­tions with her party life­style – and the fact she’s hav­ing a se­cret af­fair with one of the other of­fi­cers.

‘She’s witty, but dis­sat­is­fied, and on a path of self-de­struc­tion,’ ex­plains for­mer

Call the Mid­wife star Jes­sica.

Sub­ver­sive

‘Ali­son’s very lib­er­ated and to be locked away on an army base is hell for her. She gamely tries to sur­vive by drink­ing and danc­ing.’

While for­ward-think­ing Ed (Stephen Camp­bell Moore) fre­quently clashes with his com­mand­ing of­fi­cer, Ma­jor Harry Markham (Ben Miles), Ali­son’s be­hav­iour is cast­ing a fur­ther shadow over his ca­reer. Can the cou­ple stay to­gether?

‘Ali­son has a rep­u­ta­tion, but Ed never judges her and his sup­port is touch­ing and sur­pris­ing,’ says Jes­sica. ‘To­gether they are a sub­ver­sive cou­ple who test and ques­tion the fab­ric of army life.’ Much to Jes­sica’s plea­sure, the drama was shot in South Africa.

‘Film­ing in Cape Town while it was win­ter in Eng­land was a real treat,’ she smiles. ‘The heat, es­pe­cially in the desert, was a chal­lenge, but the land­scape is phe­nom­e­nal.’

Party girl… Ali­son’s life­style threat­ens to harm Ed’s ca­reer

Clashes… Unit com­man­der Harry

Markham

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