The Last Post

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
The Last Post TV Poster Image
So-so British historical drama about life in the colonies.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Military outpost life, colonialism, insurgencies, and politics are all themes. Representations of non-whites border on stereotypical. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Some soldiers are more intellectually driven than others. Not all the military wives meet the expectations placed on them. 

Violence

People get shot, blown up, and killed. Blood, weapons visible. Prisoners shown hooded in a torture chamber. 

Sex

Strong innuendo, including some simulated sexual activity. Extramarital affairs and pregnancy are plot points. 

Language

Curses like "f--k" are sometimes uttered.  

Consumerism

Vogue, BP (British Petroleum), BOAC, and other past and present British-specific brands visible or referenced. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

As was typical of the time, cigarette smoking and drinking (beer, hard liquor) is frequent. Drunken behavior visible. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Last Post is a British historical drama about life in one of the oldest British-controlled colonies. It's full of strong content, including military violence (shootings, explosions, burned bodies, bloody corpses, etc.), strong sexual innuendo (including simulated sex acts), and occasional cursing. Drinking (beer, hard liquor) and drunken behavior are visible. As was typical of the time, cigarette smoking is constant. Representations of the native population in Aden are not well-rounded; the show focuses primarily on the white colonists. 

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What's the story?

THE LAST POST is a British historical drama that follows a unit of Royal Military Police in the British-controlled South Arabian port city of Aden, one of the oldest colonies of the British Empire. It's 1965, and RMP Captain Joe Martin (Jeremy Neumark Jones) has arrived at the volatile region with his new wife, Honor (Jessica Buckley), to fill a position that was expected to go to Lieutenant Ed Laithwaite (Stephen Campbell Moore). Martin must win over the lieutenant and his fellow officers, including Sergeant Alex Baxter (Chris Reilly), Lance Corporal Paul Stoneham (Louis Greatorex), and Tony Armstrong (Tom Glynn-Carney), while Honor adjusts to her new life with the help of women like the commanding officer's dutiful wife, Mary (Amanda Drew), and Lieutenant Laithwaite's errant wife, Alison (Jessica Raine). But while the women find ways to cope with their circumstances and support their husbands, the army unit is facing rising numbers of violent insurgents among the local population. 

Is it any good?

This soapy series' biggest skill is re-creating a period of British history that many people today are unfamiliar with. Inspired by show creator Peter Moffat's childhood memories of his father's tour of duty in Tanzania, it attempts to show what military outpost life was like in the midst of the Radfan Uprising (1963-67), which resulted in Yemen's independence. It also highlights the complicated duties of the Royal Military Police (who serve as both soldiers and police officers), army politics, and the cultural norms of military life.  

However, due to less-than-great writing and improbable dialogue,The Last Post fails to reach its full potential. Some of the stories are underdeveloped and fail to capture the essence of what life was like in Britain's more remote colonial outposts. Plus, the caricature-like representations of the local population are troubling and problematic. Viewers may find some entertainment value in the series, but it falls short of delivering a thoughtful story. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about colonialism in The Last Post. What are the justifications given for colonizing a country? What is life like living under foreign authority? Why have people resisted colonial rule over the centuries? 

  • It's fiction, but what parts of military outpost life does The Last Post accurately portray? How can viewers tell? 

TV details

For kids who love period pieces

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