Cultural depictions of Winston Churchill

Named the Greatest Briton of all time in a 2002 poll, and widely regarded as being among the most influential people in British history, Winston Churchill has been regularly portrayed in film, television, radio and other media. The depictions range from minor character to the biographical centerpiece, exceeding 30 films, more than two dozen television shows, several stage productions, and countless books.

Winston Churchill in his air commodore's uniform






  • Peter Sellers included Churchill as his standard PM for The Goon Show. Churchill is depicted as he was during World War II. In The Goon Show, he is of course treated humorously, having a very African foreign secretary called Basil (played by Ray Ellington in Red Bladder mode). In addition he is responsible for supporting Neddie Seagoon's harebrained plans for long-range, jet-propelled guided NAAFI's, atomic dustbins, and throwing batter puddings at Clement Attlee.
  • Churchill's Other Lives, documentary series, played by Roger Allam (2011)


  • Churchill is mentioned in the Grandpa's Great Escape (2016) by David Walliams
  • H.G. Wells, in The Shape of Things to Come - a forecast of the future as it seemed to Wells on the basis of the 1934 situation - assumed that Winston Churchill's career was over and that he would have no active role to play in the Second World War, which Wells foresaw as breaking out in 1940, lasting until 1950 and culminating in the collapse of all parties to the conflict and a breakdown of European civilization. Wells assumed that Randolph Churchill, Winston's son, would take part in a valiant but doomed effort to avert the war, delivering a "brilliant pacifist speech [which] echoed throughout Europe", but failed to end the war.[3]
  • The protagonist of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty Four is named Winston Smith. He is mentioned as being about forty years old in 1984, i.e. he was born in the last years of WWII and presumably was named for Winston Churchill.
  • Various alternative history works depicting a Nazi German victory or an otherwise widely different course of WWII posit various ultimate fates for Churchill:
    • In Len Deighton's SS-GB, Churchill refuses to escape Britain even when Nazi victory is certain. He is captured by the Nazis and executed, at his last moment defiantly making the V for Victory sign.
    • In Harry Turtledove's In the Presence of Mine Enemies, Churchill and the remnants of the British Army resist to the bitter end, getting much of London destroyed and such landmarks as Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and Saint Paul's Cathedral disappearing forever. Churchill is killed, gun in hand - refusing to surrender and fighting among the last remaining defenders.
    • In Leo Rutman's Clash of Eagles, Churchill escapes via the Bahamas. When the Nazis follow up their conquest of Britain with an invasion of the US, occupying New York City and much of the East Coast, the exile Churchill urges the Americans to go on resisting.
    • In C. J. Sansom's Dominion, in the 1950s in which the Nazis occupy Great Britain through a puppet government, an ageing Churchill is leader-in-exile of the British resistance movement.
    • A similar role is given to Churchill also in the Nazi-dominated 1960s of Robert Harris' Fatherland.
    • In James P. Hogan. The Proteus Operation, Lord Halifax cravenly surrenders to the Nazis without fighting. Churchill, holding no official position of any kind, organizes some of his neighbors for a foredoomed defiance, confronting the German soldiers who arrive in their countryside with an assortment of shotguns and all of them getting killed. Time travelers from a bleak world of the 1970s return to 1939, contact Churchill and Roosevelt and provide information enabling them to do better and defeat the Nazis, creating the history we know.
    • In Harry Turtledove's The War That Came Early, right-wing elements in the British Government - seeking to accept Rudolf Hess's proposals, stop fighting the Nazis and rather join them in a war against the Soviet Union - assassinate Churchill in a "traffic accident", knowing he would never agree to such a step.
    • In Newt Gingrich's 1945, Germany did not declare war on the US in 1941. In 1945 two separate wars end, the US victorious against Japan but the Nazis victorious in Europe. Britain remains unoccupied but its situation is precarious. In 1946 Churchill faces a land invasion of Britain, headed by Rommel, and bombings much more severe than the 1940 London Blitz, and is desperately begging for American help.
    • In Harry Turtledove's Worldwar series, in 1942 Extraterrestrials invaded Earth, forcing humans to stop fighting each other and unite to face the common threat. Churchill managers to beat off a large scale Extraterrestrial invasion of Britain, but must concede the reptile invaders - who prefer warm climates - in permanent occupation of most of the British Empire.
    • Harry Turtledove's Southern Victory series is based on an earlier diversion from the history we know - the Confederacy winning the American Civil War and from 1862 becoming a fully recognized sovereign nation. In this history, the Entente is defeated by the Central Powers in the First Great War of 1914-1917. In 1935, the Conservatives led by Churchill go into coalition with the Silvershirts and by 1941, they declare war on a Germany still ruled by a Kaizer. Under these circumstances, Churchill ends up in an uneasy alliance with a Hitler-analogue - Jake Featherston, demagogue dictator of the Confederacy, who is involved in a wholesale genocide of Blacks.

Winston Churchill novels by Michael Dobbs



  1. ^ Barsanti, Sam (18 June 2015). "John Lithgow will play Winston Churchill on Netflix's The Crown". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 3 October 2015.
  2. ^
  3. ^ The Shape of Things to Come references Archived 29 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine,; accessed 3 July 2014.
  4. ^ Dunlop, Paul H. (2013) Baccarat Paperweights : two centuries of beauty ISBN 978-0-9619547-2-7

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