1 9 5 5 – 1 9 5 6 (UK)
25 x 60 minute episodes
This series of 21 plays was produced by Rediffusion and debuted on 29 September 1955, airing Thursday evenings at 9.00 pm.
Feeling that he’s in a rut, Kenneth (Robert Harris) can’t bear to spend another summer in the family’s holiday home by the lake. Although his wife Barbara (Joan Miller) and the kids – Germaine and Roland – are disappointed, he wants to sell the house and use the money for a long trip.
Kenneth is a serious, sensitive man whose love for the high-quality things in life makes him greatly appreciative of the works of Swinburne, classical music and the company of well-bred young women.
Barbara, on the other hand, is a foolish, loud-mouthed ex-barmaid, rarely seen without a cigarette drooping from her lips. Loving her husband above all, she paints a pathetic, bewildered portrait.
Caroline Denzil and James Doran as the two children of the marriage make sufficient unnecessary commotion to drive any man into the arms of a quiet and gentle mistress.
Supporting roles were played by Lionel Jeffries and John Franklyn Robbins, and the play was directed by Peter Cotes.
John Franklyn Robbins
A Call on the Widow
Two detectives (Clifford Evans and Michael Craig) call at a lonely farmhouse to investigate the death of the owner. Marooned by floods, they become guests of his widow (Jean Kent). One finds love, the other finds murder.
The Glorification of Al Toolum
Al (Lionel Murton) has won a competition as the most average man in the USA. Then he discovers that glorification brings troubles.
Mac the crazy kid
Summer in Normandy
A Garden in the Sea
This adaptation of Henry James’s The Aspern Papers featured a young writer (Robert Urquhart) searching for new material for his biography of a famous poet. He believes that a mysterious old recluse once knew the poet, and still has poems and letters yet unpublished. So he goes to visit her in Venice at the old palace that stands in a garden in the sea.
Margaret Haslan as the beautiful girl grown old and crazy, reading and re-reading her precious letters, communicated the lost yearnings and the desperate heartbreak with a kind of twisted beauty that underlined the horror (for the story is horrible). Rosalie Crutchley as Tina, the old woman’s niece, backed up admirably.
But the episode was televised live and there were enough bumps, rattles, rumbles, tinkles, clinks, clanks, squeaks, coughs and conversations in the background to keep a Royal Festival Hall audience happy for hours. And once we even caught sight of the camera boom.
There was also a marked feeling of claustrophobia generated by the paucity of sets (a couple of backdrops and half a dozen corners).
The End of the Mission
The Inward Eye
The story of a girl for whom a guide dog was the means by which she found her way back in life.
The play – directed by Peter Cotes – gives dramatic emphasis to the problems of those who trespass within that part of the brain known as “Area Nine”.
It’s the story of Adrian Childe (Anthony Dawson) who has a brain tumour. His wife’s uncle is a famous brain surgeon with an ill-disguised contempt for psychiatrists and unqualified faith in the infallibility of the surgeon’s scalpel.
The psychiatrist – who had once been engaged to Adrian’s wife – knows that Area Nine lies in that part of the brain the functions of which are still a mystery; if it is involved in an operation, changes of personality may occur.
Not only do they occur, but Anthony Dawson portrays the changes with terrifying realism. Mad as he obviously is, one sympathises with him entirely as he becomes violent, menacing and given to fits which he can’t remember.
Lady Must Sell
The article for sale in this comedy play is a mink coat.
Mrs Fred Deacon
Peggy Thorpe Bates
The General’s Mess
Written by Giles Cooper.
Jimmy (Stephen Boyd) is a professional boxer who is tempted by his crooked brother-in-law to throw a fight.
Mickey Day as a child
Mickey’s first opponent
Mickey’s second opponent
Boxing Board Control man
The Man Who Liked Christmas
Written by Reuben Ship.
Two Letters: Yesterday’s Mail/No Other Wine
Reed de Rouen
Sam and the Great Unveiling
Sam Bowler (Reginald Beckwith) is a well-respected bookie who has just crowned a lifetime of service by raising the money for a new children’s home.
But some facts about his private life have been overlooked, and unfortunately, it is not in the nature of the implacable Lady Battleby (Noel Hood) to overlook anything – and she holds the purse strings.
Written for television by Gwyneth Jones.
Mayor Todd Fletcher
Francis de Wolff
A 999 call sends police racing through a deserted Piccadilly at dawn on the trail of a stolen car: The Guv’nor has struck again.
But as Inspector Bailey (Richard Caldicot) remarks to a visiting American police chief, no matter how well The Guv’nor plans his crimes, some small detail will trip him up in the end. Written by Tudor Gates.
Det Insp Bailey
The Sun Divorce
Written for television by Margot Bennett.
Wish on the Moon
Ruth (Julia Worth) longed to see her name in lights. Olivia (Margaret Allworthy) wanted a husband, but London remodelled the lives of each and put both girls on the road to success.
Margaret Moves On
Margaret (Mary Merrall) is a widow in her sixties and has a genius for losing friends and exasperating people. Comedy and drama follow when she moves into the hard-pressed household of her son David (Patrick Barr).
A west country comedy by John Beaumont about the ruthlessness of the big businessman pitted against the guile and experience of the countryman. The big shot tried to buy the farmers out and impose modern methods, but after an immense amount of grumbling in the local village pub, everybody was reconciled.
Welsh character actor Enyon Evans was crafty West Country Reuben (with a trace of his Welsh accent coming through) and Roddy Hughes was amusing as an inefficient efficiency expert.
E Eynon Evans