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Mining Review 1/11: British Ambassador (1948)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

At Copenhagen Quay, the flags and the band are out. A gala welcome has been prepared for the arrival of a very important person - Harry Wilkins. He is met by Denmark's youthful minister of trade. Harry is a miner from County Durham, and part of the luggage he's bringing with him is three thousand tons of coal - the first British consignment to Denmark since the war.

The crowds don't worry the British miner, who looks as though he got this sort of reception every morning. At Copenhagen City Hall, he was given an official welcome.

As the representative of the British miners who have the highest output per man-shift in Europe, he was greeted by the Lord Mayor. After a glass of Denmark's national drink, he was asked to sign his name in the distinguished visitors' book. Then he started on an escorted tour of Copenhagen and the Danish countryside.

But Harry Wilkins isn't just a tourist. He's doing a job for us, and he looks here as though he's bringing home the bacon. In a sense, he is - since 1939, we've gone short of Danish farm produce, and the Danes have missed their coal. This peat is what they've had to make do with until Harry and his cargo arrive.

Of course, Harry visited the famous brewery, who turned out the band. Then, onto Denmark's historic castles. But Harry's visit itself is history - it marks the resumption of two-way trade with Denmark. Our fuel for their food. Fair enough!