Home Television Drama You Can’t Win

You Can’t Win

1 9 6 6 (UK)
7 x 55 minute episodes

This series of plays from Granada featured four stories adapted from the novel Scenes From Provincial Life by William Cooper, and three stories from his novel, Scenes From Married Life.

Beginning in 1939, a rambling story follows disaffected physics teacher and would-be novelist Joe Lunn (Ian McShane) through a desultory affair with Myrtle (Patricia Garwood), gets him worrying about whether to emigrate to America, takes him on a return visit to Oxford to see Robert Watson (John Humphry) an older friend and mentor who had encouraged him to write, and leaves him, still wondering about Myrtle and America.

By December 1949, Joe is working as a senior civil servant in Whitehall and in a relatively happy marriage – but to Elspeth (Jennie Linden) not Myrtle.

Inspired by Elspeth, he writes his best novel to date, only to find that his publisher finds it too improper to publish.

The series aired in July and August 1966 on Thursday nights in the London area and on Friday nights in the North. Each episode presented a self-contained story.

Joe Lunn
Ian McShane
Robert Watson
John Humphry
Steve
Anton Darby
Elspeth
Jennie Linden
Jennifer
Anna Sweeney
Shirley
Heather Spratt
Harry
Roger Hammond
Tom
Peter Birrel
Frank
David Robinson
Annette
Ann Curthoys
Sybil
Elizabeth Weaver
Trevor
Andrew Rimmer
Daphne
Janet Norman
Froggatt
Rosemary Frankau
Mrs Harrison
Marie Hopps
Myrtle
Patricia Garwood
Virginia
Gillian Lewis
Spinks
Ray Gatenby

Episodes

Who’s for America? | In at the Deep End | Chaos Is Come | Goodbye Myrtle Goodbye | The New Look | Learning the Law | The Stream of Life