Wish Me Luck
is a British TV show from The Eighties
about a British army unit during World War II
that goes undercover in France to help La Résistance
. Series One (set in 1942) and Two (in 1943) follow various female officers, including Liz Grainger
and Mattie Firman
as they struggle both to stay alive in occupied France and to overcome societal pressures against women serving on active duty. Series Three is about the rebellion organized by the Maquis du Vercors in 1944.
The series provides examples of the following tropes:
- The Ace: Liz, during training. Mattie as well, though she evolved into something of a Broken Ace.
- Action Girl: Liz, Mattie.
- Actor Allusion: It's not the first time Suzanna Hamilton has played a sexually liberated young woman rebelling against a fascist dictatorship.
- Almost Kiss: between Grégoire and Liz.
- Alpha Bitch: Claudine is implied to have been this in school.
- Beauty, Brains and Brawn: Liz, Mattie.
- Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted when Mattie is roughed up and tortured.
- Being Personal Isn't Professional: Grégoire cites this as the reason he's recommended Liz to be sent home: when you work in the resistance, being close to people and having feelings for them makes you vulnerable, and Liz has made him vulnerable.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Liz and Grégoire; Mattie and Cyrano.
- Betty and Veronica: Liz is Archie, her husband is Betty, Grégoire is Veronica.
- Big Damn Heroes: the Resistance rescuing Mattie.
- Big Damn Kiss: Grégoire and Liz.
- Bittersweet Ending: at the end of series 1, Mattie and Liz are both safely back home, but it's unclear whether the raid the resistance was planning will succeed; Claudine has been arrested and will probably suffer the same fate as Mattie did, but with no one to save her; Liz's marriage is not looking great; and in the very last scene, Mattie joyfully returns home completely unaware that her mother has committed suicide by gassing herself.
- Book Ends: the first and last episodes of series 1 both begin with one of the British female agents being interrogated, by being drenched in water, while wearing a white dress. It is not played for Fanservice as it is very distressing. In episode one, the woman is Liz, during a training exercise; in the episode 8, it's Mattie.
- Break the Cutie: Mattie, when she is rejected from active duty and then when she is captured. Together with her background, she verges on The Woobie at times.
- British Brevity: Only 8 episodes a series.
- Call Back: In the first episode, Faith warns the agents-in-training that while they're in France, they must be careful not to give away the fact that they're British and pay attention to the little things such as putting the tea in the cup before the milk rather than after. A few episodes later, Liz must serve tea to a Nazi and hesitates a bit before pouring the tea and the milk in the correct French way.
- Chekhov's Skill: Mattie's ability to defeat men in hand-to-hand combat. Subverted: despite putting up a fight against the Abwehr agents, they succeed in taking her in.
- Crash-Into Hello: Twice between Mattie and Cyrano/Colin.
- Deadpan Snarker: this is a British TV show after all. Cad is certainly a notable example.
- Deliberate Values Dissonance: the British (and German) army's view of women.
- Did You Just Have Sex? : Victor can tell that Liz cheated on her husband.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Mattie's mother, who is Jewish, committing suicide by using gas.
- Double Standard: Justified by the setting and mostly to do with gender roles.
- Mattie tells Colin/Cyrano that she picked up a one-night stand at the movies. When he fails to hide his disapproval, she somewhat angrily justifies herself by the fact that men do this all the time.
- Many characters cite the fact that Liz has a young child as a reason she shouldn't be on active duty, even though her husband has done the same thing. To be fair, Liz's husband isn't in the field and he has a fairly low chance of being killed (for World War II anyway).
- English Rose: Liz. She's a pretty (but not too pretty) well-bred, upper-class young woman who is also courageous, principled and willing to serve her country.
- Face-Heel Turn: Claudine
- Fake-Out Make-Out: Mattie and Cyrano throw off the Nazi Abwehr agents by taking off their clothes and getting into bed to pretend they're having sex. After danger has passed, they finally resolve their UST.
- Family Versus Career: discussed by Faith and Liz.
- A Father to His Men: Cad.
- Faux Affably Evil: Krieger.
- Flashback Nightmare: Mattie's mother Aimée wakes up screaming from memories of them escaping France together (they had to because they were Jewish) by hiding buried under a pile of coal. She is eventually Driven to Suicide by these memories.
- French Jerk: Maurice sometimes comes off a bit like this. So does Claudine, especially to Mattie.
- Fish out of Water: Mattie
- Foreshadowing: The possibility of capture is alluded to, but more in relation to Mattie than to anyone else.
- Go Mad from the Isolation: Mattie fears this.
- Hidden Depths: Mattie is a devil-may-care ladette who enjoys sex, sports and drinking...but she's also half-French and half-Jewish, which gives her a deeply personal reason to fight the Nazis
- The Home Front: the setting alternates between this and occupied France.
- Ill Girl: Unusually, it's an older woman, Mattie's mother.
- Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: used by the Gestapo.
- Keep the Home Fires Burning
- The Lad-ette: Mattie.
- La Résistance
- Les Collaborateurs
- Lewd Lust, Chaste Sex: Justified in that Liz and Grégoire cannot consummate their intense sexual tension while Liz and her husband Lawrence have tepid sex.
Lawrence: "It was never a grand passion."
- Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places: Mattie.
- Married to the Job: Cad is most explicitly described as such but Faith and Liz have hints of this too.
- Meaningful Name: Faith, who has faith in her operatives.
- Mattie's code name Aimée, which means "loved": appropriately, Mattie is a very lonely person who really wants to be loved. She tells Colin/Cyrano, "I've never slept with someone I liked before."
- Men Are the Expendable Gender
- The Mole: Claudine.
- Never a Self-Made Woman: Truth in Television for the time, although Faith may be an aversion.
- Non-Action Guy: Liz's husband Lawrence, which may be why he resents her going into the field.
- Not So Stoic: For all his determination to keep a Stiff Upper Lip, Grégoire can't stand putting Liz in harm's way, because he loves her and couldn't bear it is she were captured or killed.
- Official Secrets Act: this prevents Mattie and Claudine from telling their families why they're really leaving home for such a long time. This being The Forties, their male relatives are not pleased.
- Passed Over Promotion: Mattie, who is later reinstated.
- Pet the Dog: Krieger could have told the Gestapo that Mattie was Jewish, which would have guaranteed her a Fate Worse Than Death...but he didn't.
- Punch Clock Villain: Krieger claims to be one.
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: the division the main characters serve in is considered this by some in the army.
- Red Shirt: Nigel, who is introduced in episode 7 only to be killed of during the dramatic rescue in episode 8.
- Rich Bitch: Claudine. However, Mattie and her grandfather think that all members of the upper class are this.
- Right-Hand Hottie: Faith to Cad.
- Shown Their Work: the show portrays very accurately what is was like to live in occupied France during World War II, down to the methods used by the French Resistance to transmit messages.
- Silk Hiding Steel: Faith and Liz.
- Standard Female Grab Area: used by the Abwehr when they take Mattie away.
- Stay in the Kitchen: what most men would prefer Liz and Mattie do rather than risk their lives against the Nazis—including Liz's husband.
- Stiff Upper Lip: not surprisingly, many characters are this: Faith, Cad, Liz, Grégoire, Colin. Somewhat deconstructed : all of the above people suffer from more or less serious Cannot Spit It Out, and characters who exemplify this trope are described by others as being very cold, closed-off, and in denial of their emotions. Liz tells Grégoire that if he simply never talks about the tragedy he's experienced he will lose sight of what he's fighting for.
- Tall, Dark and Handsome: Cyrano, Maurice
- The BBC: its radio branch transmits coded messages to La Résistance.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Mattie and Liz.
- Vasquez Always Dies: Averted. Mattie, the more tomboyish one, was captured and it appeared she might die, but was rescued.
- Voice of the Resistance: how the characters communicate with their superiors.
- We ARE Struggling Together: the Communist Résistance doesn't always get along very well with the undercover British spies.
- Whitehall: mentioned as being the source of Cad's orders.
- Wig, Dress, Accent: basically the only disguise the British agents have.
- Would Hit a Girl: Those Wacky Nazis would.