1 9 7 9 – 1 9 8 0 (UK)
8 x 60 minute episodes
This series of eight plays from ATV achieved continuity by having one protagonist from each self-contained hour-long story reappear in the next, which worked admirably.
The link between the first and second stories – ‘The Letter of the Law’ and ‘Repent at Leisure’, both directed by Gareth Davies – was PC Geoff Dryden (Cornelius Garrett), an unpretentious and masculine police constable recovering from an unhappy affair with an actress, who has been transferred to a Black Country town and finds himself in a world seething with undercurrents of repressed emotion and bitter winds of marital conflict.
Judy Loe as Susan Purser was tough, attractive and sympathetic and caught the spirit of the modern independent woman with lively accuracy. The scenes between her and Dryden had a genuine sensuality that made the ultimate disintegration of their relationship the more disturbing.
Kate Coleridge gave unselfish and thoughtful support as Susan’s friend and colleague, Liz.
Geoff’s emotional life appears to take an immediate turn for the better when – within minutes of arriving at his new lodgings – he meets Pamela (Stephanie Turner), an attractive young woman posing as a respectable boarding house keeper. But after bedding the young constable with businesslike rapidity, she announces she is no such thing.
A man, to all intents and purposes a husband, turns out to be a brother and a mute couple called Norman (Frederick Radley) and Jean (Molly Veness) turn out to be, not only Mum and Dad, but vituperatively articulate.
Donald Churchill wrote and starred in the third play, ‘Alice Trying’ which featured Judy Parfitt as Alice Pearson, exposing the distress of a woman for whom sexuality is both a threat and an obscure object of desire. Her brother, Eric (David Allister) is tormented by his own perversity, with a taut misery that compliments his sister’s despair.
Churchill also appeared in play #4 – ‘Last Knockings’ – where he was joined in the cast by Arwen Holm, Gillian Raine, Tony Mathers, Antony Carrick, Dorothea Phillips and Ronald Russell.
Play #5 was ‘Big Deal’, directed by Don Leaver and set in Oxford with Arwen Holm joined by Warren Clarke, John Bryans, Morris O’Connell and Graham Rowe. The sixth play, ‘Family’ was directed by Ian Fordyce and starred Malcolm Stoddard.
Play #7, ‘The Sponge Man’ (directed by Paul Annett) was set in Nottingham and featured Paul Greenwood, Carol Royle, Geoffrey Colville, Teddy Turner, Donald Burton, Sue Nicholls and Geoffrey Monk.
The final play, ‘Working Arrangements’ was also directed by Paul Annett. In addition to the reappearance of Paul Greenwood and Judy Loe, Charles Gray, Ronald Hines, Katharine Blake, Edith Macarthur, Anita Kaye, Sheila Keith and Michael Culver also featured in the cast.
Viewers were certainly kept on their toes.
PC Geoff Dryden
Dr Hugh Penney
Sir Percy Claydon
The Letter of the Law | Repent at Leisure | Alice Trying | Last Knockings| Big Deal | Family | The Sponge Man | Working Arrangements