Your article: Ex-Pock School pupil features in Churchill drama

Bill Paterson as Lord Moran.
Bill Paterson as Lord Moran.

One of Pocklington School’s most eminent former pupils, who went on to be Sir Winston Churchill’s personal doctor, is a main character in a new ITV film about the cover-up of a serious stroke Churchill suffered while Prime Minister.

Lord Moran, who attended Pocklington school as Charles McMoran Wilson between 1894 and 1899, was also Churchill’s devoted friend and confidant throughout his times as Prime Minister during the War and the post-War period.

Lord Moran.

Lord Moran.

He administered the secret treatment of Churchill after he suffered a serious stroke in 1953, aged 78, an event which, had it become public, would have almost certainly forced him to resign as Prime Minister.

Lord Moran did not expect Churchill to survive the stroke, which was kept secret from his Cabinet and, thanks to an agreement from the press barons which would be unheard of today, the public.

He ordered bed rest for Churchill, which was largely ignored, and when his patient hauled himself back onto the public stage, prescribed various drugs, some containing stimulants like amphetamine, to keep him on top form.

Lord Moran is played by Bill Paterson in the ITV film drama, called Churchill’s Secret, which also stars Michael Gambon as Churchill, Lindsay Duncan, Romola Garai and Matthew Macfadyen.

The feature-length film is based on Jonathon Smith’s book, The Churchill Secret. It draws on Lord Moran’s book, Churchill: The Struggle for Survival 1945-60, which caused a storm when it was published shortly after Churchill’s death because of its medical detail.

Lord Moran (1882-1977) was born in Skipton, North Yorkshire. Following his time at Pocklington School he studied at St Mary’s Medical School where he indulged his passion for rugby captaining the 1st XV from wing forward.

Whilst at school he founded the Old Pocklingtonian Association in 1897 with his friend Sir Percy Simner, and later retained close links with his alma mater, speaking at many dinners and commemorative events.

Lord Moran served as a medical officer in France during the First World War, when he won the Military Cross in 1916 for services during the Battle of the Somme. As Baron Moran in the House of Lords, he was involved in many of the debates leading up to the creation of the National Health Service in 1948. His skilled negotiations between the suspicious medical profession and Aneurin Bevin’s Labour Government played a vital role in getting the NHS off the ground. It also led to the British Medical Association nicknaming him ‘Corkscrew Charlie’.

A TV transmission date has yet to be set.