1 9 7 5 (UK)
6 x 50 minute episodes
Writer Alan Plater took Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and placed them in a contemporary setting for this innovative six-part series which concerned a minibus of Wakefield Trinity supporters making their way down to Wembley for the Rugby League Challenge Cup Final.
To while away the miles, they each told a story – all of which were somewhat far-fetched with slapstick elements – all competing for a free fish-and-chip supper promised by “Stan the Fryer” (Bill Maynard), a chip shop proprietor.
Plater’s selection of tales included two of the best-known: the Miller’s and the Wife of Bath’s – others were based on The Reeve’s Tale, the Knight’s Tale and the Franklin’s Tale.
Along with Stan, the travellers on the bus were Nick the driver (Colin Farrell), Smith the Man of Law (a policeman, played by John Stratton), Alice, the wife of Batley (Gaye Brown), Dave the Joiner (Paul Copley), his girlfriend Judy “the Judy” (Susan Littler) and a writer referred to as Eric the prologue (Francis Matthews).
On the way, they stopped off at several pubs. At one stop-off point (The Copper’s Nark) they picked up the pub’s lugubrious landlord, Reuben (Peter Benson) who they saved from attempted suicide because the pub was doing such poor business.
Reuben’s only companion was his stuffed goldfish, Peggy.
The series evolved from a stage play by Plater, Trinity Tales or The Road to Wembley, which was performed by the Birmingham Repertory Theatre Company from 30 January 1975 to 22 February 1975.
Eric the Prologue
Stan the Fryer
Dave the Joiner
Judy the Judy
Nick the Driver
Smith the Man of Law
Alice the Wife of Batley
The Driver’s Tale | The Fryer’s Tale | The Judy’s Tale | The Joiner’s Tale | The Wife of Batley’s Tale | The Man of Law’s Tale