1 9 5 4 (UK)
2 x 85 minute episodes
1 x 100 minute episode
1 x 75 minute episode
Iain MacCormick’s cycle of four full-length plays dealing with a group of people caught up in the aftermath of war aired between 23 May and 15 August 1954 in the BBC Sunday Night Theatre slot and was the first series of its kind in this format for British television.
The first of the plays, The Liberators, involved the proposed Allied destruction of the small Italian town of Canavento in 1945 in order to slow the withdrawal of the German army in that region. The decision as to whether the town should be evacuated prior to the bombing was left to young British officer Major Kent (Owen Holder).
Two of the characters from The Liberators were then carried through to the second play, The Good Partners, which was set during the Berlin Airlift of 1948 and involved the plight of a fugitive eastern European scientist.
The Small Victory was set in Korea in 1951 and revolved around a Catholic mission overtaken by the Chinese and tyrannised by the sadistic Captain Feng (Alec Mango), who was forcing false confessions by torture.
The final play, Return to the River, was set in the present day (of 1954) and saw Kent return to the little Italian farmhouse from which he directed the operation that resulted in the destruction of Camevento. There he found that the promised years of peace were anything but.
In October 1954, MacCormick won the Guild of Television Producers and Directors Award for the best TV script for the cycle. Another prize followed at the Daily Mail National Radio and Television awards.
Maureen Beck (1)
Ingeborg Wells (2)
Ina De La Haye
The Liberators | The Good Partners | The Small Victory | Return To The River