The First Churchills was a BBC mini-series from 1969 about the life of John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough and his wife, Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough. It starred John Neville as the duke and Susan Hampshire as the duchess, was written and produced by Donald Wilson, and was directed by David Giles. The miniseries presents the lives of John and Sarah Churchill from their meeting in 1673 until a time shortly before the first duke's death in 1722, and shows, along the way, much of the context of English politics at the same time. Like many BBC miniseries of the era, it was made on a low production budget, with sound studio sets, and generally avoided battle and crowd scenes out of inability to stage them in a convincing manner. The series is based on the Marlboroughs' famous descendant Winston Churchill's life of his ancestor the Duke, and as such presents a very favourable portrait of the Marlboroughs.