1 9 7 3 (UK)
6 x 60 minute episodes
This six-part drama series from London Weekend Television aired on Friday nights in May and June 1973 and presented plays adapted from English short stories written in the 1920s and 1930s.
Writers included Richard Aldington (“Now Lies She There” and “Yes, Aunt”), Sir Osbert Sitwell (“The Greeting”), Evelyn Waugh (“Mr Loveday’s Little Outing”), Jean Rhys (“Voyage in the Dark”) and Sir Hugh Walpole (“The Silver Mask”).
The first play, “Now Lies She There” (11 May 1973), featured Stuart Wilson as a lion tamer’s assistant.
“Yes Aunt” – dramatised by Douglas Livingstone – was the tale of Oswald Carstairs (Richard Briers), a middle-class young man with a distinct flair for doing nothing who was advised by his Aunt Ursula (Fanny Rowe) to take up writing – an occupation considered eminently suitable for the idle.
Unfortunately, Carstairs was also incompetent, which undoubtedly accounted for the OBE he collected in government service during the war. He needed a wife to organise him. Needless to say, Aunt Ursula obliged and came up with Julia (Susan Fleetwood).
In “The Greeting”, Nurse Gooch (Hannah Gordon) arrived at a country house to care for Mrs Tongue (Gwen Watford), the neurotic invalid wife of a tormented colonel (Robert Hardy).
“Mr Loveday’s Little Outing” (pictured above) presented the story of potty peer Lord Moping (John Le Mesurier), who had tried to hang himself during one of his wife’s coffee mornings and had been put away, quite happily, in a private loony bin. There he was gently butlered by Mr Loveday (Ronald Fraser), a non-fee-paying fellow inmate who – despite having been inside for 35 years – still knew his station.
His Lordship’s teenage daughter Angela (Veronica Quilligan) visited and met the faithful and gentle Loveday. Appalled at his continuing incarceration despite his obvious sanity, she engineered his release.
After farewell speeches and the presentation of a silver cigarette box from fond patients and staff, Loveday went out into the big wide world beyond the iron gates. An hour later, he was blissfully back again and tenderly ministering to his old friends. All he wanted was a little outing – and to repeat the reason for his original committal: the strangling of a passing cyclist.
In “Voyage In The Dark”, young, vulnerable touring actress Anna Morgan (Jacqueline Tong) met suave and prosperous City man Walter Jeffries (George Baker), who was good for a few laughs, a few meals and a few pounds. But Anna was too soft to milk him, and a casual liaison soon turned into a desperate destructive affair of the heart.
In “The Silver Mask”, rich middle-aged spinster Sonia Herries (Joyce Redman) was walking home from a party when she was accosted by a young man named Henry Abbott (Scott Anthony) asking for money for his wife and child. Against her better judgement, he was soon instated as her secretary.
Events snowballed, wife and child came to eat at her table, her maid left, her friends deserted her, his family and friends moved in, and it was all too much for her weak heart.
The cast of the hour-long dramas also included Zoë Wanamaker, Shirley Stelfox, Patricia Quinn, Richard Hurndall, Joyce Redman, Ruth Holden, Georgina Cookson and Christopher Benjamin.
Now Lies She There | Yes, Aunt | The Greeting | Mr Loveday’s Little Outing | Voyage in the Dark | The Silver Mask