PICK OF TODAY’S TV MY GRANDPARENTS’ WAR: KEIRA KNIGHTLEY, 9PM, CH4
‘WE’RE a family of very strong women,’ says Keira (pictured with her mum, Sharman) as she introduces us to her grandparents Jan and Mac. As a girl, Keira was very close to her ‘exotic’ grandmother, but Jan, who didn’t talk about what she did in the war, died when Keira was 11, and the actress never knew Joseph ‘Mac’ Macdonald, an engineer. So, it’s both an emotional and surprising journey for the actress as she finds out about their wartime experiences. Keira knew Jan had been a secretary, and now learns that she had previously volunteered as a clerk at a military hospital in the Highlands, 200 miles from her home in Glasgow — it emerges that her organisational skills were put to good use in the run-up to D-Day, too. Mac, meanwhile, was a sonar operator during his 12-year service in the Royal Navy, and played his part in a heroic rescue at sea. Keira is struck by just how much good fortune is involved in the fact that she exists at all, with the war having put so many obstacles in the way of Jan and Mac’s blossoming romance — Mac even once had to brave the bombs of the Blitz to make sure he wasn’t late for a date with his future wife. But not all her relatives were so lucky, and we also hear stories of Keira’s great uncles reported missing behind enemy lines.