1 9 6 5 (UK)
6 x 30 minute episodes
Ex-seaman Luther Flannery (Hugh Griffith) – uncouth and rough-and-ready – and ex-schoolteacher Gascoigne Quilt (Felix Aylmer) – highly educated but painfully unworldly – meet accidentally in a churchyard while listening to the sound of the church choir practising, form an unlikely friendship, and do their best to live it up in a second childhood.
The Tuesday night series was written by Barry Took and Marty Feldman and developed from a 1963 episode of the Comedy Playhouse series. Despite the echo of Lewis Carroll in the title, the inspiration for the scripts was Dylan Thomas: “Do not go gentle into that good night; Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light”.
Gascoigne is highly literate with a precise mind but got into trouble during his teaching career via an unfortunate dalliance with the headmaster’s wife, and never quite recovered his balance. Thus his obvious intelligence and ability never bore fruit.
Luther is an illiterate ex-seaman from Swansea who drank and womanised his way around the world, getting married in every country except – shrewdly – Britain. A strong, very physical man, he is reduced to living out his days at the seedy London home of his fifty-year-old daughter (Hazel Hughes).
The two septuagenarians were a hit with viewers and critics alike but the series ran for only six episodes. Guest stars included Warren Mitchell, Ronnie Barker, Doris Hare, Daphne Heard, Patrick Newell and future Tomorrow People star Nicholas Young.
The first episode aired on BBC1 on Tuesday 2 March 1965.
Return to Lumley Hoo | The Coffin They Carry You Off In | Luther Flannery Revisited | Luther and the Golden Fleece | The Quarrel | The Secret Life of Gascoigne Quilt