Main title from the 1973 ‘The Desert’ episode of The World at War (1973-74) (1)

The World at War (1973–74)

The Desert


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| TV Episode | United Kingdom | B&W | Documentary, History, War | 52min
| Stars: Laurence Olivier, David Belchem, Paola Colacicchi
| E8 | 19th December, 1973

The desert war, starting with Italy’s unsuccessful invasion of Egypt and the successive attacks and counter-attacks between Germany and Commonwealth forces, and the Afrika Korps’s eventual defeat at El Alamein

The World at War (1973-74) opening credits
The World at War (1973–74)
1970s World War II documentary series, narrated by Laurence Olivier.

Episode cast

Photo of Laurence Oliver narrating The World at War (1973-4). The actor is in rolled-up shirt sleeves while reading the script in front of a microphone
Himself – Narrator
David Belchem
Himself – Western Desert Force
Paola Colacicchi
Himself – Italian Army
Francis de Guingand
Himself – Military Intelligence, Cairo / Montgomery’s Chief of Staff
Lawrence Durrell
Himself – British Press Officer, Cairo
Allan Francis Harding
Himself – Commander, 7th Armoured Division
Richard O’Connor
Himself – Commander, Western Desert Force
Siegfried Westphal
Himself – Afika Korps, Rommel’s Chief of Staff
Claude Auchinleck
Himself – C-in-C Middle East Command 1941-42 (archive footage)
Winston Churchill
Himself – PM of the UK (archive footage)
Alan Cunningham
Himself – Commander 8th Army 1941 (archive footage)
Bernard L Montgomery
Himself – Commander 8th Army (archive footage)
Benito Mussolini
Himself – Prime Minister of Italy (archive footage)
Neil Ritchie
Himself – Commander 8th Army 1941-42 (archive footage)
Erwin Rommel
Himself – Commander, Afrika Korps (archive footage)
Archibald Wavell
Himself – C-in-C Middle East Command 1940-41 (archive footage)
+ Show full cast (6 more)


Main title from the 1973 ‘The Desert’ episode of The World at War (1973-74) (2). North Africa, 1940-1943
Main title from the 1973 ‘The Desert’ episode of The World at War (1973-74) (1)


Peter Batty
Producer / Writer


Thames Television
Production company