Journey’s End, Jeremy Northam’s first major TV appearance

22 Nov

As we wait to find out what Jeremy will be working on next, I thought it might be fun to go back in time to one of his first TV appearances. Back in 1988, Jeremy played the role of Captain Stanhope in a TV adaptation of  Journey’s End.

Jeremy as Captain Stanhope in 'Journey's End'.

Journey’s End was Robert Cedric Sherriff’s best known play, and having been a captain in WW1, he was well-placed to write it. It was first performed in 1928, directed by James Whale, and with Laurence Olivier (then only 21) in the lead role of Captain Stanhope. In 1929, it was published in both play and novel versions. Sheriff went onto write more plays, novels, and most notably, screenplays. He was nominated, along with his co-writers, for an Academy Award for the screenplay of Goodbye Mr Chips, and went on to write award-nominated screenplays for The Dam Busters and The Night My Number Came Up. James Whale made a film version of Journey’s End in 1930.

Jeremy was, in 1988, still primarily a stage actor, so although he will have been busily learning all about working in front of a camera, he will already have been familiar with the format of a play. Very sadly, it’s not possible to see the play in its entirety as it’s not available on DVD (if anyone manages to source it, please let me know!). However (and with MANY thanks to Edward Petherbridge who also starred in Journey’s End), we ARE able to see an excerpt at YouTube which features Mr Petherbridge as Lt. Osbourne, Timothy Spall as Lt. Trotter and Jeremy’s Captain Stanhope.

Mr Petherbridge was kind enough to tell me that … Jeremy was splendid in Journey’s End – his first major TV role. He also hopes that he may be able to put some more of the play on YouTube in the future, which will be wonderful! If Edward Petherbridge seems familiar to you, it’s because he also appeared in The Statement with Jeremy. He is a very distinguished stage actor, as you will see from exploring his website: Peth’s Staging Post. You can see Edward Petherbridge on TV in the new Showtime series, The Borgias, next year.

Captain Stanhope is not a role that Jeremy would have been given had his immense talent as an actor not already been evident. I’ll leave you to see how well he was cast by watching the clip and reading the play. I believe that this adaptation of the play adds an on-camera raid (which happens off-stage in the original), but otherwise is largely faithful to Sherriff’s script. I only wish it were possible to see all of it …

Thank you to Joan aka HazelP for the image.

by Gill

5 Responses to “Journey’s End, Jeremy Northam’s first major TV appearance”

  1. jules November 22, 2010 at 6:24 pm #

    Thanks for reviewing this one, Gill. I too have only seen the clip but it seems superbly acted and has a great cast, so I hope we get to see a bit more.

    Reading the script of this play the other day whetted my appetite to see it acted, especially as the role of Stanhope seems tailor-made for Jeremy Northam’s talents.

    • Gill Fraser Lee November 22, 2010 at 7:42 pm #

      It’s just such a shame it isn’t on DVD anywhere …

  2. Brian Granville November 21, 2013 at 8:48 pm #

    Hi, is this available on dvd and if so, where? Thanks.

  3. Brian Granville February 25, 2018 at 6:56 pm #

    Hi: Does anyone have a copy on DVD of Journeys End with Jeremy Northam. 1988. I know it is on you tube, but it’s never been available on DVD. I am in California and I have a DVD player that plays all region DVD’s including PAL dvd’s. Thanks, Brian


  1. Tweets that mention Journey’s End, Jeremy Northam’s first TV appearance « The Jer Blog, all about Jeremy Northam -- - November 24, 2010

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Gill Fraser Lee, Gill Fraser Lee. Gill Fraser Lee said: Jeremy's first major TV role was as Captain Stanhope in 'Journey's End', back in 1988: […]

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