Production Overview: 1.The Four Icons / 2.A New Man / 3.The End of the Festival / 4.Twenty-Four Steps / 5.Arrival / 6.Stand Up And Vote / 7.From Boneyards To Courting Pits / 8.Normal Service / 9.Homes Fit For Cathy / 10.Sleeping Dogs / 11.Last Orders / 12.Casualties of War
Episode Guide: Season 1 / Season 2 / Season 3 / Season 4 / Season 5 /
Season 6 / Season 7 / Season 8 / Season 9

The Wednesday Play Season Eight
Season eight was produced by Irene Shubik (episodes 1, 4, 5, 7, 11, 14, 22, 25 & 26), Graeme MacDonald (episodes 2, 6, 9, 10, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18, 20, 21, 23 & 24), Tony Garnett (episodes 3 & 19) and Pharic Maclaren (episode 8).
Mrs Lawrence Will Look After It
Transmitted : 21st August 1968
Script : Tony Parker
Director : John Mackenzie

Publicity : A Deep Concern With Man's Predicament - Shaun MacLoughlin introduces a new season of The Wednesday Play: The Wednesday Play, now at the beginning of its eighth season, can fairly claim to be the television drama of the week. Watched by up to a quarter of the population of the United Kingdom, it transmits the work of today's outstanding writers who have two things in common: they write brilliantly, and they are deeply concerned with man's predicament in a rapidly changing society. Some of the plays you will be watching may be shocking. They will criticise what is bad in the world or, on the other hand, celebrate what is good. They may be comic or dramatic or tragic. They will certainly all be relevant to the problems of here and now.

Four Problems Examined: The opening play in the current series is journalist Tony Parker's Mrs Lawrence Will Look After It, which reveals how an unofficial baby-minder deals with the problem of unwanted children. This will be followed by the BBC's fourth play by Simon Gray, Spoiled, a delicately handled study in homosexuality, and later by William Trevor's tragic-comedy about the fantasy love-affair of a middle-aged lady, A Night With Mrs Da Tanka. Owen Holder contributes a play about the dangers of telling fairy tales to children. J B Priestley Writes A New Play: J B Priestley has written a play specially for BBC Television, Anyone For Tennis?, and Dennis Potter will be contributing two fine plays.

One of these, A Beast With Two Backs, is concerned with the violence to which extreme Puritanism can lead, the second is a study of a contemporary Christ. Julia Jones has written a play that is specially topical in view of the Vatican's recent pronouncement on birth control. It pictures the predicament of an ever-growing Roman Catholic family in Liverpool. From the prolific Peter Terson will come the sad story of Mooney And His Caravans and the National Youth Theatre production of a specially commissioned play, The Apprentices. No series of contemporary plays is complete without the work of Alun Owen, and this season's offering is Charlie, a penetrating study of family relationships as seen in a meeting between two brothers.

Dockland And Mining Settings: Director Ken Loach is completing for the series a film about Dockland in Liverpool by Jim Allen, whose Wednesday Play The Lump was so successful. Alan Plater has written a free-wheeling piece, with music, about the history of the Durham mines. Michael Frayn will contribute a comedy called Birthday, written in the same gentle vein as Jamie, On A Flying Visit. And Hugo Charteris will follow his thoughtful play The Connoisseur with one about the trials of an overworked country doctor, Doctor Aitkinson's Daughter. The problem of The Exiles - they are West Indians - is examined by Errol John. David Rudkin, whose play is called Blo9dwen Home From Rachel's Marriage, is concerned with a problem too - the one that is faced by a girl who belongs to a fanatical religious sect.

Three In A Lighter Vein: Three plays in a lighter vein, but deadly accurate, are A Serpent In Putney by Fred Watson, Sling Your Hook by Roy Minton, and Smokescreen by Fay Weldon. This last one deals with the morality of cigarette advertising. I have left to the mast mention of David Mercer's new television play On The Eve Of Publication, because something he said recently makes a fitting last word. "The best work of contemporary writers," he said, "should itself be the standard by which drama should be judged". The production team of The Wednesday Play heartily agree. Your first four Wednesday Plays - August 21: Mrs Lawrence Will Look After It by Tony Parker; August 28: Spoiled by Simon Gray; September 4: The Gorge by Peter Nichols; September 11: A Night With Mrs Da Tanka by William Trevor. (Radio Times, August 15, 1968 - Article by Shaun MacLoughlin).

Cast :
Mary Miller (Freda Wills), Ray Smith (Stanley Maxwell), Barry Jackson (John Black), Constance Chapman (Mrs Lawrence), James Appleby (The Policeman), Barbara New (The Casualty Sister), Janie Booth, Gilly Fraser and Beverley Walding (The Casualty Nurses), Shivendra Sinha (The Doctor), Ben Howard (Police Constable Robertson), Frank Jarvis (Police Constable Dent), Edwin Brown (Mr Darton), Harry David (Ted Truelove), Nina Baden-Semper (The Ward Nurse), Jessie Barclay (The Ward Sister), Winifred Dennis (Mrs Watts), Eric Mason (Ronald Cape), Edith MacArthur (Miss Hamilton), Christine Hargreaves (Jane Evans), Diana Bishop (Betty Lawrence), Barbara Lott (Miss Hepworth), Sheila Grant (Mrs Mills), Kate Williams (Valerie Chapman), Griffith Davies (Michael Collins), Eileen Colgan (Katie Nolan), Pauline Collins (Joan Percival), John Phillips (Councillor Percival), Cleo Sylvestre (Stephanie Ward), Demi Eura (Mr Low), Jumoke Debayo (Mrs Low), Ray Barron (Terry Allen), Gay Shingleton (Linda Allen), Royston Tickner (Mr Bancroft), Julie May (Mrs Bancroft), Julie Booth (Barbara Bancroft), Peter Attard (Peter Unwin) and Sandra June Williams (The Girl).

Notes & Trivia :
This episode had a running time of seventy-five minutes and was transmitted from 9:05pm to 10:20pm.

Film Cameraman for this episode was Brian Tufano. Sound Recordist for this episode was Bill Chesneau. Film Editor for this episode was Pam Bosworth.

This episode enjoyed a repeat broadcast on June 18th, 1969. This episode is one of only seven episodes from the eighth season of The Wednesday Play which still exists.

Transmitted : 28th August 1968
Script : Simon Gray
Director : Waris Hussein

Publicity : Spoiled - The Wednesday Play is at 9:05pm tonight: Ninteen-year-old Donald Clenham (Simon Ward) lives at home with his mother, works at a departmental store, and in his spare time studies O-level maths. The exams are imminent. His tutor, Richard Howarth (Michael Craig), a local schoolmaster, invites him to stay for a final undisturbed cramming.

But Donald's stay is anything but undisturbed. His relationship with Richard becomes tense and complicated. So much so that when Donald's interjection into the household seems likely to disrupt Howarth's marriage, his wife Joanna's question, "are you always like this with your pupils," no longer seems so innocent. (Radio Times, August 22, 1968).

Cast :
Michael Craig (Richard Howarth), Elizabeth Shepherd (Joanna), Simon Ward (Donald), Will Leighton (Mr Wyecroft), Carmel McSharry (Mrs Clenham) and Mark Rose (Les).

Notes & Trivia :
This episode had a running time of seventy-five minutes and was transmitted from 9:05pm to 10:20pm.

Pianist for this episode was Tom McCall. Incidental Music for this episode was composed by Michael Dress.

This episode enjoyed a repeat broadcast on July 9th, 1969.

The Gorge
Transmitted : 4th September 1968
Script : Peter Nichols
Director :
Christopher Morahan

Synopsis :
The family set off for a picnic in the country with all the paraphernalia - the cine camera, the frozen barbecued chicen - all of which is looked on, with sixth-form cynicism and disgust, by the family's son. Nor does he think he's going to enjoy the trip round the Cheddar Gorge .

Cast :
Billy Hamon (Mike), Constance Chapman (Lily), Reg Lye (Jack), Neil Wilson (Stanley), Betty Alberge (Ivy), Elna Pearl (Chris), John Woodnutt (Norman), Hilda Braid (Joyce), David Webb (The Cyclist) and Brian gear (The Potholer).

Notes & Trivia :
This episode had a running time of seventy-five minutes and was transmitted from 9:05pm to 10:20pm.

Music for this episode was provided by Manfred Mann and Mike Hugg. Film Cameraman for this episode was Dick Bush. Film Editor for this episode was Dave King. Sound Recordist for this episode was Basil Harris.

This episode enjoyed a repeat broadcast on August 20th, 1969. This episode is one of only seven episodes from the eighth season of The Wednesday Play which still exists.

A Night With Mrs Da Tanka
Transmitted : 11th September 1968
Script : William Trevor
Director : John Gorrie

Publicity : Geoffrey Bayldon and Jean Kent in The Wednesday Play - A Night With Mrs Da Tanka - at 9:05pm: The setting is a seaside hotel; off-season, of course, and complete with Palm Court Orchestra. Year after year Mr Mileson (Geoffrey Bayldon) has returned for his annual holiday to this scene of his youth. His tragic romance is well known to the staff and guests from whom he remains remote and mysterious. A picture of Cynthia, his long-lost love, accompanies him everywhere: his only companion. Into this world crashes Mrs Da Tanka (Jean Kent), a figure of pure vulgarity, much divorced, almost permanently drunk and excessively outspoken. Never has Mr Mileson been confronted with such an opponent. The results of this meeting are both hilariously funny and very sad. (Radio Times, September 5, 1968).

Cast :
Jean Kent (Mrs Da Tanka), Geoffrey Bayldon (Mr Mileson), Arthur Lowe (Colonel Harrap), Peter Bathurst (Colonel Gregson), Daphne Heard (Mrs Edgell), Rosamond Burne (Miss Palmer), John Savident (Mr Miller), Reginald Barratt (George), Lala Lloyd (Miss Thompson), Julia Gareth (The Waitress), Brenda Peters (Yvonne), Christopher Burgess (Andre), Janet Key and Barry Andrews (The Honeymoon Couple), Lionel Wheeler (Mr Gray), Tom Harrison, Betty Connor and Michael Salmons (The Palm Court Trio), Carla Challoner (Cynthia) and Susan Payne and David Howe (The Children).

Notes & Trivia :
This episode had a running time of seventy-five minutes and was transmitted from 9:05pm to 10:20pm.

This episode enjoyed a repeat broadcast on July 2nd, 1969.

Transmitted : 18th September 1968
Script : Alun Owen
Director : Michael Hayes

Synopsis : James, the more conventional of two brothers, comes searching for Charlie, his elder brother, who has deserted his home, his wife, and the family business. Charlie, now forty, has stood back and taken stock of his life, and decided it has all been futile. James has never had such doubts, and finding Charlie in a roadside hotel, tries to persuade him to return.

Cast :
Barrie Ingham (Charlie), Julian Glover (James) and Mary Chester (The Barmaid).

Notes & Trivia :
This episode had a running time of seventy-five minutes and was transmitted from 9:05pm to 10:20pm.

Music for this episode was provided by Tubby Hayes.

Anyone For Tennis?
Transmitted : 25th September 1968
Script : J B Priestley
Director : Claude Whatham

Publicity : Anyone For Tennis? - J B Priestley, writing about this week's "Wednesday Play" on BBC-1 which he has written specially for television, says it is Another Time Play: Writing a brief but adequate introduction to this play, Anyone For Tennis? Will not be easy, but I will do my best. Let me say at once that it is not a play about ghosts or spiritualism or reincarnation. It is another of my "Time plays", which were well known to the older generation of playgoers and were in fact produced in many different countries. But this one would be difficult (though not impossible) to stage in the Theatre. It has been written specially for television because it lends itself to production in this very flexible medium. So if it does not succeed, then blame me and not the producer, the director, the players.

This is not the place in which to discuss complicated theories of Time, and I can only refer readers who are curious to my book Man And Time. (Incidentally, this book was greatly indebted to an interview with Huw Wheldon on that fine programme, Monitor). But though I do not propose to lure readers into the maze of the Time problem. I must say something that might help the audience to understand and enjoy the play. Now I happen to believe that our minds exist in three dimensionms or different orders of Time. The first of these, Tome One, is the line of ordinary, passing time, the line from the cradle to the grave. Most people nowadays believe this is all we have, a belief that in my view had done them much harm. Acting on this belief, my leading character, Garry Brendon, has committed suicide, preferring extinction to disgrace and imprisonment. "We've only one life to live, haven't we?" - as so many people say. And this play replies No. None of it happens in Time One. It is concerned with Garry's experiences in Time Two and Time Three.

In Time Two, everything that happened along the line of Time One would still exist, though each of us would have access only to what happened in our own Time One. The old name for Time Two was Eternity, which is too often regarded as an ever-lasting Time One. But eternal joy and eternal sorrow are not joy and sorrow going on for ever and ever: they are states of mind in Time Two. Time Three is like the third dimension completing a cube. If Time One hurried events along a single line and Time Two shows us those events recurring, Time Three - so to speak, the thickness of the Time cube - allows us to bend the line of Time One, giving us the chance to change events, to bring into actuality different possibilities. Garry has done with Time On e, because he shot himself out of it, but he is still existing in Times Two and Three, and so has to cope with whatever they bring him. I may add that we all exist here and now in all three of these dimensions of Time, but we concentrate almost all our waking attention on Time One.

If we didn't we might get run over or walk out of a window. Even so, we have moments when we are aware of Time Two and Time Three. At least, that is what I believe; and I suggest that viewers suspend their own disbelief during the action of the play. Two last points. First, because the whole background and the movement of the play are rather strange, I have deliberately kept the characters, their relations, their dialogue, as simple as possible. Secondly, the title of the play and the question with which it begins and ends are, I must confess, rather mischevious. A few years ago I got tired of reading or hearing statemenets from youngish directors or leading actors that they did not propose to do plays in which somebody said "Anybody For Tennis?". No character of mind had ever said it, but I decided then I would create a character who would have to say it. (Radio Times, September 19, 1968 - Article by J B Priestley).

Cast :
Clifford Evans (Lord Ninfield), Rachel Kempson (Phyllis Brendon), Joseph O'Conor (Joseph Brendon), Ernest Clark (Ivor Brendon), Michael Pennington (Garry), Maureen O'Reilly (Laura Pembury), Pauline Devaney (Pauline Brendon), George Moon (Stinson), Angharad Rees (Billie) and Alan Foss (Doctor Fawcett).

Notes & Trivia :
This episode had a running time of seventy-five minutes and was transmitted from 9:10pm to 10:25pm.

Mooney And His Caravans
Transmitted : 2nd October 1968
Script : Peter Terson
Director : James Ferman

PublicitySynopsis : Life isn't simple with Mooney - he isn't a man to tangle with - and the young couple with social pretensions learn his little ways rather too late. When they move into one of his caravans they think they are taking such a sensible step towards a rosy future, but that isn't quite how things work out.

Cast :
John Alderton (Charley), Diana Bishop (Mave), Dave Prowse (Mooney) and Jerry Holmes (Dempsey).

Notes & Trivia :
This episode had a running time of seventy-five minutes and was transmitted from 9:05pm to 10:20pm.

The Lower Largo Sequence
Transmitted : 9th October 1968
Script : Edward Boyd
Director : Pharic Maclaren

Publicity : Isobel Black and Patrick Allen in tonight's Wednesday Play at 9:05pm - The Lower Largo Sequence: Robinson Crusoe, rumour is rife, came from Lower Largo, Fife. The verse continues but the rumour finds its confirmation on the stones of Lower Largo on the east coast of Scotland, where the statue of Alexander Selkirk looks out over his birthplace. Defoe was there first to fictionalise him in Robinson Crusoe; the original sailor has been dead for more than two-and-a-half centuries, but the Crusoe-syndrome remains. In The Lower Largo Sequence the central character is The Man, the island seeker. Which island? Any island. The island he has created within himself and which The Girl invades. (Radio Times, October 3, 1968).

Cast :
Patrick Allen (The Man), Isobel Black (The Girl), Callum Mill (The Commercial Gent), David Kinnaird (The Railway Official), Nancy Mitchell (The Conductress), Harry Walker (The Landlord), Michael Harrigan (The Lover) and Ken Henderson (The Traffic Waren).

Notes & Trivia :
This episode had a running time of fifty minutes and was transmitted from 9:05pm to 9:55pm.

This episode was produced in the studios of BBC Scotland.

Music for this episode was provided by Andy Park.

Hello, Good Evening, And Welcome
Transmitted : 16th October 1968
Script : Hugh Whitemore
Director : Claude Whatham

Publicity : Hello, Good Evening And Welcome - at 9:05pm: Thanks to television, the border lines between entertainment and reality have become blurred; newsreel film of the Vietnam War follows on the heels of a variety show, and is then succeeded by the latest crime thriller. This high-bred world of reality and showbiz is the world of tonight's Wednesday Play - twelve hours in the life of a television superman, for whom truth without dramatic impact has become meaningless. For this role, Troubleshooter Robert Hardy moves easily from the world of oil to that of communications mogul, Nick Prockter. (Radio Times, October 10, 1968).

Cast :
Robert Hardy (Nick Prockter), Michael Robbins (Henry Whittaker), Ralph Ball (Alan Carter), Ruth Trouncer (Betty Carter), Philip Woods (Loder), James Marcus (Breen), Michael Irving (Mellet), Michael Graham Cox (Bernard Davis), Roshan Seth (Ben Scalfe), Giollian Hawser (Shirley Davidson), George Roubicek (Bryan Parkin), Ralph Bates (Alistair Gorringe), Matthew Guiness (The Bank Clerk), Vincent Harding (The Policeman), The Eclection (The Pop Group), Valerie Lush (The First Neighbour), Jill Brooke (The Second Neighbour), Robert Wilde (Roger Harrison), Dallas Cavell (Jack Jardine) and Jane Evers (The Duty Officer).

Notes & Trivia :
This episode had a running time of fifty minutes and was transmitted from 9:05pm to 9:55pm.

Script Editor for this episode was Shaun MacLoughlin.

The Wednesday Play took a break on October 23rd, 1968, to make way for the broadcast of an extended edition of Olympic Grandstand.

This episode enjoyed a repeat broadcast on May 7th, 1969.

A Bit Of Crucifixion, Father
Transmitted : 30th October 1968
Script : Julia Jones
Director : Geoffrey Nethercott

Publicity : A Bit Of Crucifixion, Father - The Wednesday Play deals with a controversial problem of Roman Catholic family life: The conflict between conscience and authority for a significant proportion of the Roman Catholic population over the Papal Encyclical's teaching on birth control is the timely and controversial subject of The Wednesday Play, A Bit Of Crucifixion, Father. It concerns a large Liverpool Catholic family. Gilbert and Edna already have several children with another on the way, and Edna has been told by her doctor that, for reasons of health, she should not have it. She has to decide whether she should follow his advice or adhere strictly to the teaching of the Church. This dilemma forces the family to re-assess their thinking, and the whole question of abortion and birth control is so charged with emotion that the people involved find it almost impossible to reach a solution. The play also shows how two priests of differing age and attitudes respond to the situation.

Jean Marsh, who plays the central character Edna, found the part one of her greatest challenges. Although silent and inarticulate, Edna finds the choice between having the child or an abortion so overwhelming that she becomes completely isolated. To begin with, she uses her silence as a weapon, and then as a defence. It seemed to the author, Julia Jones, that nearly all the talking on this controversial subject was being done by men and that it was time for women to have their say. In many communities, particularly in a city like Liverpool, women are still, she says, at the mercy of men. A husband's permission has to be sought for the most basic requirements, and although this may be a safeguard it is also a prison. Attitudes to women in this sort of environment are still fairly primitive.

Julia Jones feels that a man often fears a woman's emancipation as a sign of his virility being called in question. Her ideas on the subject were crystallised when she was in Liverpool and saw the new Roman Catholic Cathedral rising out of street after street of old slum houses which are now beginning to be demolished. This threw into relief the fact that new thinking is taking place among old attitudes, but for her this new thinking is still predominately masculine. (Radio Times, October 24, 1968).

Cast :
Walter Fitzgerald (Father Curran), Valerie White (Florence), Margery Mason (Madge), Alan Lake (Gilbert), P G Stephens (Arthur), Geoffrey Whitehead (Father James), Jean Marsh (Edna), Geraldine Sherman (Sheila) and Amy Mitchell (Peg).

Notes & Trivia :
This episode had a running time of seventy-five minutes and was transmitted from 9:05pm to 10:20pm.

Script Editor for this episode was Shaun MacLoughlin.

Nothing Will Be The Same Again
Transmitted : 6th November 1968
Script : James Hanley
Director : Peter Hammond

Synopsis : The Jesse family are an apparently normal and happy household - until a mysterious and scruffy stranger starts following Mrs Jesse around. Both Mr Jesse and Julie, their daughter, become increasingly suspicious of the relationship between Mrs Jesse and the stranger. Gradually a past is revealed which no one had ever suspected before. Its effect on the relationships between the members of the family is devastating.

Cast :
Patrick Magee (Arnold Jesse), Bernard Lee (Frank Lanton), Gwen Cherrell (Frances Jesse), Tessa Wyatt (Julie Jesse), Jonathan Collins (Christopher) and Elizabeth Begley (The Landlady).

Notes & Trivia :
This episode had a running time of sixty minutes and was transmitted from 9:15pm to 10:15pm.

Music for this episode was provided by Joseph Horovitz.

A Beast With Two Backs
Transmitted : 20th November 1968
Script : Dennis Potter
Director : Lionel Harris

Publicity : A Beast With Two Backs - Who was the killer in the West Country? The bear, the idiot - or "the beast within us"? Script Editor Shaun MacLoughlin introduces The Wednesday Play: In the 1890s, a party of Frenchmen was travelling in the West Country with two dancing bears. When a little girl was found badly mauled, the bears were blamed, and a group of villagers beat the animals to death. Later events proved that the bears had nothing to do with the incident. As a child, Dennis Potter heard this story hundreds of times, for he was brought up in the district where it happened. Now he has gone back there to live.

For the first time he is writing a play about his home ground, and he has taken this true-life incident as the basis for his play. He has used it to show how, if something shameful happens, man will blame the nearest person or thing in order to absolve himself. The setting is the Forest of Dean at the end of the last century, and this is where most of the play was filmed on location. In the play there is only one bear, winningly played by Gina, a bun-loving Russian bear from North Wales. Joe (Patrick Barr), an elderly Italian, is making a precarious living working the villages with a dancing bear, an act that at that time frightened, as well as excited, audiences.

Although in the original story only the bear was blamed for the shameful event, in A Beast With Two Backs there is - as the title suggests - more than one candidate for blame. A village idiot is under suspicion, particularly from his Uncle Ebenezer (Denis Carey), and above all, as Ebenezer says, there is "the beast within us". Ebenezer is the local preacher in a nonconformist village, whose hellfire and damnation attitudes now seem almost ludicrous. Dennis Potter has contributed five plays to The Wednesday Play series, including the famous couple, Stand Up For Nigel Barton and Vote, Vote, Vote For Nigel Barton. For the latter, he won the Writers' Guild of Great Britain award. At present, his version of the life of Christ, Son Of Man, is in production as another Wednesday Play. (Radio Times, November 14, 1968 - Article by Shaun MacLoughlin).

Cast :
Patrick Barr (Joe), Denis Carey (Ebenezer), Basil Henson (The Inspector), Madeleine Newbury (Joan), Geraldine Newman (Rebecca), Christian Rodska (Rufus), Roger Gartland (Jack), Terence Sewards (Will), Anthony Andrews (Harry), Audine Leith (Nellie), Laurence Carter (Micky), Esther Lawrence (Mary), Llewellyn Rees (Arnold) and Ron Eagleton (The Policeman).

Notes & Trivia :
This episode had a running time of seventy-five minutes and was transmitted from 9:05pm to 10:20pm.

Costumes for this episode were supervised by June Wilson. Make-Up for this episode was supervised by Eileen Mair. Script Editors for this episode were Shaun MacLoughlin and Kenith Trodd.

This episode enjoyed a repeat broadcast on August 4th, 1987. This episode is one of only seven episodes from the eighth season of The Wednesday Play which still exists.

On The Eve Of Publication
Transmitted : 27th November 1968
Script : David Mercer
Director : Alan Bridges

Publicity : On The Eve Of Publication - David Mercer, the award-winning playwright, wrote this week's The Wednesday Play, in which the main characters are an ageing, successful novelist, and a young and beautiful girl, the kind every man dreams of: Robert Kelvin, novelist and Nobel prizewinner of sixty, has one redeeming feature: his searing and totally honest self-criticism. It makes it impossible to judge him or dislike him. And it is an important clue to the development of this play.

Kelvin has been married more than once. He has been feted and attacked in Eastern Europe and in the West, and now, towards the end of his life, his thoughts and his desires still tend towards youth. He has in Emma the sort of girl that surely every man must dream of having, at some point in his life. She is startlingly beautiful, intelligent, and educated. She is his lover, slave, secretary, and friend. But in the eyes of the world he behaves outrageously towards her; while privately he finds her not quite human. She suffocates him with her gentleness and concern so much that he fears he is losing his identity.

The play opens on the eve of publication of Kelvin's latest novel, The Last Days Of Buster Crook. His publisher is holding a dinner party in his honour. Kelvin is sitting there composing in his head a letter to Emma - also at the dinner - an attempt to explain himself, as much for his benefit as for hers. Kelvin's memories and fantasies are pursued backwards and forwards in time and place. His impassioned and desperate effort to discover himself provides the dramatic development of this mysterious yet beautifully constructed play. And all the time the action is building to a startling but inevitable climax.

This is the latest play by David Mercer, one of television's most controversial dramatists. A Suitable Case For Treatment and In Two Minds won the Writer's Guild Award for the best Television plays in 1962 and 1967. More recent were The Parachute and last season's Wednesday Play Let's Murder Vivaldi. His plays deserve and get outstanding casts. This week Leo McKern plays Robert Kelvin, Michele Dotrice is Emma, and Thorley Walters the publisher, Holland. (Radio Times, November 21, 1968 - Article by Shaun MacLoughlin).

Cast :
Leo McKern (Robert Kelvin), Thorley Walters (Holland), Michele Dotrice (Emma), Rosalind Knight (Barbara), Alan Cuillen (The Father), Rose Howlett (The Mother), Robert Wallace (The Grandfather), Kay Newman (Ruth), Pauline Devaney (Jane), Mischa De La Motte, Geraldine Gwyther, Alfred Hoffman, Winifred Hill, Mervyn Prior, John Roden, Nova Sainte-Claire and Hira Talfrey (The Dinner Guests).

Notes & Trivia :
This episode had a running time of fifty-five minutes and was transmitted from 9:05pm to 10:00pm.

On The Eve Of Publication was the first in a three-part story which found its sequel in The Cellar And The Almond Tree, transmitted on March 4th, 1970, and its conclusion in Emma's Time, transmitted on May 13th, 1970.

The Wednesday Play was not broadcast during December 1968 to make way for the transmission on Evelyn Waugh's Sword Of Honour, which was transmitted on December 4th, 11th and 18th, 1968.

This episode enjoyed a repeat broadcast on June 11th, 1969. This episode is one of only seven episodes from the eighth season of The Wednesday Play which still exists.

The Fabulous Frump
Transmitted : 8th January 1969
Script : David Gibbins
Director : Peter Hammond

Synopsis : Ella Macy is the caricature of a woman journalist. She drinks, swears, smokes cigars with the boys, and dresses like a mixture of a truck driver and a schoolmarm. Unbelievably, Ella is a top fashion writer, but when her newspaper editor decides the paper needs a new image. Ella realises the time has come for her to find a husband. Her victim is Albert Gill, fashion designer and mother's boy…

Cast :
Sheila Steafel (Ella Macy), Peter Butterworth (Albert Gill), Donald Churchill (Harold), Patsy Rowlands (Trixie), Peter Bayliss (Harry Day), Sue Vaughan (Jean), Arthur Howard, Billy Milton, Jeffrey Gardiner (The Men At The Fashion House), Michael Ward (The Receptionist), Richard Stilgor (The Journalist), Ronnie Brody, Ian Wilson and Charlie Bird (The Tramps) and Brian Gardner (Jim).

Notes & Trivia :
This episode had a running time of seventy minutes and was transmitted from 9:05pm to 10:15pm.

Incidental Music for this episode was composed and conducted by Ron Grainer.

Smoke Screen
Transmitted : 15th January 1969
Script : Fay Weldon
Director : Donald McWhinnie

Synopsis : "I don't encourage people to smoke more. I just try and make them smoke. Prefects, as opposed to another brand, which is a perfectly legitimate and worthwhile occupation". This is Matthew's point of view and he is the executive on the Prefects' account at a leading advertising agency. What is more, with the proceeds he supports two daughters, a wife, a mother, and a coloured maid in the style to which, alas, they have become accustomed. It therefore strikes him as outrageous that far from offering him moral support they are full of reproaches and his mother has the temerity to be dying of lung cancer.

Cast :
Lally Bowers (Vivienne), Stephanie Bidmead (Harriet), Gemma Jones (Charles), Edwin Richfield (Matthew), Pippa Steal (Daphne), Karin MacCarthy (Florence), Carole Boyer (Dawn Farrell), Christopher Hancock (Mark Farrell), Jonathan Newth (Alan), Cleo Sylvestre (Rachel), Ian Lavender (Joseph), Geoffrey Cheshire (Philip) and Gavin Hardy (Harry).

Notes & Trivia :
This episode had a running time of seventy minutes and was transmitted from 9:05pm to 10:15pm.

Script Editor for this episode was Shaun MacLoughlin.

Dr Aitkinson's Daughter
Transmitted : 22nd January 1969
Script : Hugo Chateris
Director : Gilchrist Calder

Publicity : Peter Barkworthand Jennifer Hilary in tonight's Wednesday Play - Doctor Aitkinson's Daughter: Gilly returns to Blackerton after a liberating year's Volunteer Service Overseas. She is nineteen, now hates the provincial dreariness of Blackerton, and is out of touch with her parents. Her father, Doctor Aitkinson, is senior partner in his practice, and an ambitious committee man. Thus most of his work falls on the shoulders of junior partner and "form filling machine", Doctor George Mackintosh. But only George in the whole of Blackerton can respond to Gilly's very feminine need for understanding and love. (Radio Times, January 16, 1969).

Cast :
Raymond Huntley (Hallam Aitkinson), Peter Barkworth (George Mackintosh), Fanny Rowe (Winny Aitkinson), Jennifer Hilary (Gilly Aitkinson), Sylvia Coleridge (Mrs Mackintosh), David Langton (Vic Olliphant), Helen Lindsay (Lucy Daniels), Neil Wilson (Preston), Reginald Barratt (The Dispenser), Noel Hood (Mrs Hutton), Patrick Jordan (The Police Constable) and Josephine Gillick (Gilly As A Child).

Notes & Trivia :
This episode had a running time of seventy-five minutes and was transmitted from 9:05pm to 10:20pm.

Script Editor for this episode was Shaun MacLoughlin.

This episode enjoyed a repeat broadcast on August 26th, 1970.

The Apprentices
Transmitted : 29th January 1969
Script : Peter Terson
Director : James Ferman

Synopsis : Born Leader: In tonight's Wednesday Play at 9:05pm, Barrie Rutter plays Douglas Bagley, a young welder, joker, rebel, and natural leader in the factory yard of a Yorkshire firm. This television adaptation has the same cast as the theatre production which was highly praised: A worthy successor (to "Zigger Zagger") combining immense theatrical vigour with a wholly credible picture of life among the working-class young - The Times; It has some vivid and often wildly funny dialogue and an outstanding performance by twenty-year-old Barrie Rutter - Daily Mirror; …the genuine tang of Now…they come at you fresh, authentic, and surprising, like a head-on collision with the actual world…it should be the most popular show the National Youth Theatre has ever done - Daily Mail.

Cast :
Barrie Rutter (Bagley), Anthony Phipps (Harry), Allan Swift (Waggs), Kathleen Lee (Betty), Paula Wilcox (Linda), Robert Eaton (Fulcher), John Moran (Jeff), Edwin Shirley (Jimmy), Russell Dixon (Bramwell), Hugh Coldwell (Dicker), Jennifer Galloway (Mabel), Marian Schwarz (Alicia), Mark Irvine (Mr Bradbury), Charles Douthwaite (Spow), John Porzucek (Garret), Gareth Thomas (The Taffy Doorman), Loftus Burton (Leo), James Gibson (Ramrod), Peter Turner (The New Apprentice) and Members of the National Youth Theatre.

Notes & Trivia :
This episode had a running time of seventy-five minutes and was transmitted from 9:05pm to 10:20pm.

This episode was transmitted under the subtitle of "The National Youth Theatre Presents", with a banner title to the effect that it was "The Wednesday Play". The stage production was by Michael Croft assisted by Derek Seaton.

Script Editor for this episode was Shaun MacLoughlin.

The Wednesday Play was not broadcast on February 5th, 1969 to make way for BBC Television's commitment to televise the European Figure Skating Championships of 1969.

This episode enjoyed a repeat broadcast on September 9th, 1970.

Transmitted : 12th February 1969
Script : Michael Frayn
Director : Claude Whatham

Synopsis : Liz is twenty-seven today. It is Sunday in her London bachelor girl's flat, and to celebrate or commiserate with her on this birthday - her elder sister, Jess, is invited to lunch. Jess, a proud parent, is far gone with a fourth pregnancy. The baby is due in a fortnight, or so she thinks. But Liz and her bachelor guests are due for a rude shock. The author, Michael Frayn, himself a father, uses his situation to look uproariously at the social embarrassments of pregnancy, childbirth, and just being a woman.

Cast :
Rosemary Leach (Jess), Angela Pleasence (Liz), Clive Swift (Neil), Georgina Ward (Willa), Robert Hamilton (Bernie), Roshan Seth (The First Student), Tariq Yunus (The Second Student), Yvonne Gilan (Doctor Hodges), Jumoke Debayo (Sister Aylward) and Tina Gowing (Nurse Summerfield).

Notes & Trivia :
This episode had a running time of seventy-five minutes and was transmitted from 9:15pm to 10:30pm.

Incidental Music for this episode was composed by Wilfred Josephs. Script Editor for this episode was Shaun MacLoughlin.

This episode had a repeat broadcast on September 4th, 1969.

The Big Flame
Transmitted : 19th February 1969
Script : Jim Allen
Director : Kenneth Loach

Publicity : Norman Rossington addresses a crowd of dockers in a scene from this week's Wednesday Play - The Big Flame - The tough and complex world of dockland politics - that's the setting for The Wednesday Play says producer Tony Garnett: The three weeks we spent filming in Liverpool Dockland was a rich and salutary experience. The wit, the quickness of spirit and the hospitality of the dockers bubbles out of generations of hardship and insecurity. Especially the wit: ironic and direct as though with a mocking wink. Like the boss they called The Sheriff because he's always saying: "Where's the hold up, boys?". Or The Surgeon: "Cut that out boys, cut it out!". Like the docker they called The Lazy Solicitor because he's always sitting on a case; the one they called The Ailing Crab - he's always going off work because one of his nippers is bad; The Destroyer, because he's always going for a sub.

The Big Flame, however, plunhes us into the tough and complex world of industrial politics and there's not much to laugh about there. It begins quietly enough. Men sit around the table and argue. It's a strange meeting because the employer is absent. Members of the unofficial committee representing the men despairingly air their grievances to union and government officials. It is a last-minute attempt to avert a strike. The mood is bitter and the men feel betrayed. But no one quite foresees the consequences of their actions that afternoon. Before we are done we shall see ten-thousand men facing the armed power of the State - and a lot of lessons will have been learned.

This play, written by Jim Allen and directed by Kenneth Loach, has a large cast headed by Norman Rossington and Godfrey Quigley. And if anyone should still doubt that it is fiction, we have set it in the future - as no documentary could ever be. (Radio Times, February 13, 1969 - Article by Tony Garnett).

Cast :
Norman Rossington (Danny Fowler), Godfrey Quigley (Jack Regan), Peter Kerrigan (Peter Conner), Daniel Stephens (Joe Ryan), Tommy Summers (Alec Murphy), Ken Jones (Freddie Grierson), Meredith Edwards (Logan), Michael Forrest (Garfield), John Riley (Bruno), Harold Kinsella (Andy Fowler), Joan Flood (Liz Fowler), Terence Flood (Her Son), Ron Davies (Steve Fowler), Roland Macleod (Mr Weldon), Gerald Young (The Judge), Philip Ross (The Inspector), Griffith Davies (O'Neill), Neville Smith, Joe Cubbin, Jerry Edwards, Pat Gillon, Jimmy Goldbourn, Jimmy Campbell, Les McGrae and Stephen Porter (The Strike Committee), John Gee and Mr Jones (The Clerks), Lily Quinn and Joyce Quadrio (The Neighbours), Laurie Asprey and Kenneth Campbell (The Reporters), Mike Nally and Derek Hunt (The Television Interviewers), Timothy Carlton (The Officer), Bill Dean (The Landlord), Michael Lynch (The Captain), Edwin Brown, Harry Hudson, J A Jackson and Jim West (The Policemen And The Court Officials), Len Anney, Charlie Barlow, Syll Conn, Austin Fearns, Paddy Joyce, Joey Kaye, Joseph Kerwin, Bert King, Alban Milligan, Joe Mooney, Louis Mooney, Frank O'Rourke, Joe Quadrio, Gerald Richardson, Bobby Shack, Sammy Sharples, Joe Summers and John Summers (The Dockers).

Notes & Trivia :
This episode had a running time of eighty-five minutes and was transmitted from 9:05pm to 10:30pm.

Joe Hill was performed by Rick Jones.

This episode enjoyed a repeat broadcast on August 26th, 1971. This episode is one of only seven episodes from the eighth season of The Wednesday Play which still exists.

A Serpent In Putney
Transmitted : 26th February 1969
Script : Fred Watson
Director : Geoffrey Nethercott

Publicity : A Serpent In Putney - Tender care for Mike, who appears to have had a nasty accident - Frances White, Tony Britton, John Alderton, and Angela Browne: A house converted into bed-sitters with the unwelcome sense of community living that thin walls and shared bathrooms bring - that's the setting of the comedy in The Wednesday Play series tonight at 9:05pm. George and Silena are spending the weekend together. Jim Payne, awaiting the arrival of his girlfriend Jennifer, is testing his strength on a friend. Then there's Mike, whose behaviour is, to say the least, peculiar. Is he just a confused eccentric? Or is he the real power behind the scenes in this off-beat romance? (Radio Times, February 20, 1969).

Cast :
Tony Britton (George), Angela Browne (Jennifer), Frances White (Silena), John Alderton (Mike), Barry Stanton (Payne) and Gavin Morrison (Payne's Friend).

Notes & Trivia :
This episode had a running time of seventy-five minutes and was transmitted from 9:05pm to 10:20pm.

Incidental Music for this episode was composed by Carl Davis.

Bam! Pow! Zapp!
Transmitted : 5th March 1969
Script : Nigel Kneale
Director : William Slater

Synopsis : A sleepy south-coast town out of season. Walter Trapnell, an elderly wages clerk, is the life and soul of the local pub. Arkie, Scanlan, and Clem are three youths living in a dream world of violence, cowboys, and Batman. They enact a comic strip sequence and Walter Trapnell is very much a victim for real. They snatch his wages, knock him down, badly injure him. They are delighted - except for Arkie. He gradually becomes obsessed by Walter's recovery. He is determined, though not quite sure how, to redeem the damage he has inflicted.

Publicity : Arkie scans the newspaper for a report of a wages snatch in which he was involved - in BAM! POW! ZAPP!, the Wednesday Play. In the background is Pat Beckett, who plays Arkie's mother - BAM! POW! ZAP! - This week's Wednesday Play is about a gang of youths who have a romanticised view of violence.

Here the author, Nigel Kneale, discusses the underlying theme: BAM! is when the baddie gets it right in the kisser. POW! is when it flattens his black hat. ZAPP! - the gun drops from his nerveless hand. ZINGG! - he doubles up. THWUNK! - and he's down for the count. These are the sounds of blows delivered by Batman and his peers, designed to look dramatically decorative on the cartoon page. This is violence as a fun thing. It belongs to a dreamland, a harmless dreamland it would seem.

The land where cowboys get shot painlessly through the fleshy part of the shoulder, and secret agents who are clubbed senseless soon jump up again with a sardonic line ready on their lips. Where the darker a man's clothes are and the fewer his lines, the less likely he is to last till the final captions. The precipice will claim him, the bullet or the explosion, or the misfire of his own diabolic invention. For when the baddie drops he stays dead. There is no health in him. He is instantly disposable. All good clean fun. Or is it? When hot debates have broken out on the subject of screened violence, this is the form of it that has been most readily forgiven.

Stylised violence, rendered unreal. Prettied with wit, high-camp. Deodorised and homogenised, certified inoffensive. Falsified. Are we wise, as a species, to feed ourselves comfortable fantasies about the worst thing that is in us? Let us take another look at that dreamworld. It is ancient and murky. If we look hard at the innocent toys there we see they are the creaking mechanisms of something more sinister. They are the models of mental processes that enable us to reduce our enemies to ciphers and then destroy them cheerfully because they are wearing black hats. Beyond there, smouldering and glowing, are purge … pogrom … massacre … overkill. Perhaps it is time to end the fun. End the falsification, that is, and it applies to pasteurised war reports as much as to fiction.

Not to ban all violence from our screens as if it did not exist but on the contrary to give it its deserved, awful status, and to elevate all treatment of it to something more absolute. Let it be shown occasionally but then totally, in its brute components of savagery, and indifference. Let us remind ourselves that BAM! is the sound of human bone cracking, POW! is the echo in a plundered braincase and ZAPP! The crunch oof living tissue - before our own hats turn black. (Radio Times, February 27, 1969 - Article by Nigel Kneale).

Cast :
Clive Revill (Walter Trapnell), Pauline Delany (May Trapnell), Robert Powell (Arkie), Neil Johnston (Mike), Charles Bolton (Scanlan), Jeremy Ranchev (Clem), Patrick Westwood (Ted Parsloe), Amy Mitchell (The Barmaid), John Dunbar (The Customer In The Pub), Pierre Bedenes (Pongo), Richard Pescud (Mike's Father), Pat Beckett (Arkie's Mother), Susan Porrett (Carol Trapnell) and Robert James (Doctor Gossard).

Notes & Trivia :
This episode had a running time of seventy-five minutes and was transmitted from 9:05pm to 10:20pm.

Script Editor for this episode was Shaun MacLoughlin.

This episode was the only edition of The Wednesday Play to be transmitted in March. On March 12th, 1969, BBC Television repeated Harold Pinter's A Night Out, followed on March 19th, 1969 by The Harold Pinter Play (with the first episode sub-titled A Slight Ache). On March 26th, 1969, BBC Television broadcast coverage of the Women's Fashion Awards 1969.

Sling Your Hook
Transmitted : 2nd April 1969
Script : Roy Minton
Director : Michael Tuchner

Synopsis : Joe, a Nottingham publican, prides himself as organiser of an annual bus tour to Blackpool. The group consists of a rowdy bunch of miners, hell-bent on a good time. Gradually Joe loses his hold as the defiant group disperses. He returns a sadder and wiser man. On Blackpool beach Pancho and Joe send a message back to Nottingham by pigeon.

Publicity : Sling Your Hook - The Wednesday Play, about a party of miners on a weekend at Blackpool, is a seaside postcard come to life, says producer Irene Shubik: It is a common enough fantasy for anyone on holiday: the dream of chucking it in and staying away for good. The holiday-makers in Sling Your Hook are a carabanc party from the Nottingham mines bound for a weekend in Blackpool. Roy Minton writes of them from first hand, for he has worked in the pits. But this is no play of earnest social messages; rather, at times, it takes on the flavour of a seaside postcard by Donald McGill in which the fat women and yearning little men are blown up to life-size proportions. The play was filmed entirely on location in the pubs, hotels and pleasure spots of Blackpool, as well as in the Nottingham mines. The cast is large and offers a number of memorable comic performances.

Leading it are Michael Bates as Joe, a Nottingham publican, who heads the group, and North Country comedian Joe Gladwin as Oliver, his friend, who is a compulsive eater. A team of actors including Patrick O'Connell, Johnny Wade, Kenneth Cranham, Barry Jackson and Norman Jones are the miners who feel inclined to sling their hooks. The women they encounter are Jo Rowbottom, Geraldine Moffatt and Mavis Villiers. The production represents a debut into drama for Michael Tuchner. This documentary director was responsible for many Whicker's World productions - among them "Paris Fashions" and "Grand Prix" - and for the Muggeridge programme The American Way Of Sex.

This is the first of three Wednesday Plays made entirely on film which will be seen this month. The two others are very different. The Exiles is a very personal portrait by the West Indian writer Errol John of rich and sophisticated West Indians living in "exile" in England. And Blodwen, Home From Rachel's Marriage, by David Rudkin, is an intense and unusual drama about a Welsh family and the effect that the wedding of a cousin in Northern Ireland has upon their lives. (Radio Times, March 27, 1969 - Article by Irene Shubik).

Cast :
Michael Bates (Joe), Joe Gladwin (Oliver), Patrick O'Connell (Mick), Jo Rowbottom (Helen), Kenneth Cranham (Roland), Geraldine Moffatt (Jo), Barry Jackson (Cossack), Mavis Villiers (Mrs Flowers), Johnny Wade (Lol), Norman Jones (Pancho), Warren Clarke (Alec), George Layton (Pete), Neville Smith (Spider), Colin Spaull (Hooray), Andrew McCulloch (Sid), Derek Keller (Arthur), Harvey Edwards (Harry), Marc Gebhard (Tojo), Antony Woolf (Didi), Paul Dawkins (Craske), Jean Challis (Betty), Rosemary King (Spider's Girl), Cyril Varley (The Pub Landlord), Narcy Calamatta (The Italian Waiter), Gerry Ram (The Indian Waiter), Tommy Ward (The Bar Waiter) and Anthony Benson (The Salesman).

Notes & Trivia :
This episode had a running time of seventy-five minutes and was transmitted from 9:05pm to 10:20pm.

Film Editor for this episode was Stan Hawkes. Cameraman for this episode was Alan Jones. Sound for this episode was supervised by Les Collins.

This episode enjoyed a repeat broadcast on August 19th, 1970. This episode is one of only seven episodes from the eighth season of The Wednesday Play which still exists.

A Child And A Half
Transmitted : 9th April 1969
Script : Owen Holder
Director : Alan Bridges

Synopsis : Lucy, who is eight, believes absolutely in fairies. She sees them in the garden and she posts letters to them in the hollow tree. Henry Ramsden loves children. He is senior colleague to Lucy's ambitious father Ronald and when he asks if he can answer Lucy's letters - as if from the Fairy King! - Ronald and his wife Sylvia recluctantly agree. The letters are a great pleasure to Henry and a source of intense wonder and excitement to Lucy; but the make-believe world they are living in is based on deceit and cannot last.

Cast :
Geoffrey Bayldon (Henry), Caroline Mortimer (Sylvia), Dinsdale Landen (Ronald), Gillian Bailey (Lucy) and Rhoda Lewis (Hilda).

Notes & Trivia :
This episode had a running time of seventy-five minutes and was transmitted from 9:15pm to 10:30pm.

Story Editor for this episode was Shaun MacLoughlin.

Son Of Man
Transmitted : 16th April 1969
Script : Dennis Potter
Director : Gareth Davies

Synopsis : This play is about Jesus the man; it is also about the religious, political, and military climate in which he lived. Jerusalem is expecting a Messiah. The occupying Romans, under Pontius Pilate, put down religious fanatics and their followers with brutality. It is a time of change and of violence - not entirely unlike today. The play sees Jesus very much as a man; a man capable of friendship and of anger, of doubt and of laughter. He is a man haunted by the question "Am I indeed the Messiah?"; by his knowledge of his fate, "They shall nail him upon the Cross"; and yet hounded by an inncer conviction of his mission.

Publicity : Son Of Man - "It's the first play I am pleased with" says Dennis Potter talking to Russell Twisk about his very personal interpretation of the last days of Jesus: Controversy has stalked every play by Dennis Potter and Son Of Man will be no exception. It is Potter's story of Jesus from the thirty-ninth day in the wilderness until his death on the Cross. It is a violent play, set in a time when human life was cheap, in a land occupied by a brutal enemy. "It has to be violent", says Potter, "to contrast the full range, meaning, and freshness of what Jesus was saying". His play shows some of the familiar characters in the New Testament story in a different light. Judas is portrayed as a gentle, well-intentioned priest who was used and misled by Caiaphas, the chief priest who is collaborating with Pilate. Pilate himself emerges as a hawk-like figure, who is quite heartless and sadistic.

I met Dennis Potter at a hotel above Paddington Station; he rather dislikes coming to London and stays as close to getaway point, the railways, as he can. He lives in the Forest of Dean, which has influenced many of his plays. As a child he had to go to chapel twice every Sunday. The area around the Forest of Dean took on for him the scenery of the Bible, the hills and the valleys gave him a precise physical feeling. He says: "I could see the whole landscape translated into the territories of the Bible". He suffers greatly with arthritis and finds it painful even to walk. We sat in the hotel and he talked in his rather high Gloucestershire voice about his play Son Of Man. "I wanted to write a play about a man deluded with the thought that he might be Christ. At the start of the play we see Jesus in the wilderness, with cracked lips, emaciated, his mind high on thoughts, perhaps delusions. In such a state he would not be saying: `I am the Messiah' but `Am I the Messiah?'. We think of Jesus as being meek, gentle, and mild. We have forgotten what the man might have been like. I wanted to strip away the dogma, to go direct to the sources. Why did he turn over the tables in the temple? Why did Judas betray him? If he had been mild we would not know about him today. I know there have been hundreds of passion plays before, but this is my own personal picture. Jesus swears and loses his temper. He is a man, and he addresses his followers in the way that evangelists have always done - pithily, sometimes mockingly.

It is much more marvellous to me that he should have been a man, who was born in the usual way, and died in the usual way. That makes his life much more challenging to me. I tried to imagine the circumstances in which Jesus said: `Love thy enemies'. For he was saying that human love is the only thing of significance in a land occupied by vicious enemies. The thought behind that statement leaps two-thousand years. Today we have war after war, race riot after race riot. We are still no nearer loving our enemies. I had gone through a period of illness and depression before I wrote this play; in fact it was written while I was in hospital. In a way it got me out of my depression. Depsair leads to destruction. I want to transform what I feel into something more positive and meaningful.

In my last Wednesday Play, A Beat With Two Backs, I was expressing what I felt to be the beast in man. Usually I see the beast. This play shows the way we might behave to each other. In the past I took the easy way out, coated everything with a black brush. Now I realise that there is light as well as shade. I have matured a bit, indulge in a little less attitudinising, am more cautious. Cautious because I am aware that I am handling inflammable things. I don't think my play will upset Christians, but it's possible that it will. I would like them to see a play about a man - that's much more important. I regard it as the end of my apprenticeship as a dramatist, the first play I am pleased with". (Radio Times, April 10, 1969 - Article by Russell Twisk).

Cast :
Colin Blakely (Jesus), Robert Hardy (Pontius Pilate), Bernard Hepton (Caiaphas), Brian Blessed (Peter), Edward Hardwicke (Judas), Godfrey Quigley (The Roman Commander), Patricia Lawrence (Procla), Gawn Grainger (Andrew), Clive Graham (The Roman Centurion), Godfrey James (The First Soldier), Eric Mason (The Second Soldier), Brian Spink (Zealot), Hugh Futcher (The First Heckler), Raymond Witch (The Second Heckler), Robin Chadwick (The Young Officer), Colin Rix (James), Walter Hall (Philip), Wendy Allnutt (Ruth), Keith Campbell (The First Priest), Edmond Bennett (The Second Priest), Alan Lawrance (The Money-Changer), Paul Prescott (The Man In The Crowd), Polly Murch (The Woman Possessed), Peter Beton (The Beaten Samaritan), Edmund Bailey (The Third Heckler), David Cannon (The Beggar), Roy Stewart and Dinny Powell (The Boxers).

Notes & Trivia :
This episode had a running time of ninety minutes and was transmitted from 9:15pm to 10:45pm.

Lighting for this episode was supervised by Robert Wright. Make-Up for this episode was supervised by Sandra Hurll. Costumes for this episode were provided by Dinah Collin.

This episode enjoyed two repeat broadcasts on BBC Television, on June 4th, 1969 and July 28th, 1987. Dennis Potter appeared in Son Of Man Reviewed, transmitted on BBC-1 on April 20, 1969, in which he discussed the play with a panel chaired by Robert Robinson.

Son Of Man was staged at the Phoenix Theatre in Leicester from October 22nd, 1969 as a four-weak theatrical enterprise. In that production (which was directed by Robin Midgley), Frank Finlay played Jesus Christ, with Joseph O'Conor as Pontius Pilate and Ian Mullins as Caiaphas. The production transferred to The Roundhouse in London from November 12th, 1969.

This episode is one of only seven episodes from the eighth season of The Wednesday Play which still exists.

The Exiles
Transmitted : 23rd April 1969
Script : Errol John
Director : Herbert Wise

Synopsis : Tonight's play by West Indian author-actor Errol John is very much a black man's view of white society. Jimmy Cardinez, a West Indian who has lived most of his life in America, comes to Europe on a sentimental journey to revisit the places he saw during the Second World War. By accident, in Coventry Cathedral, he meets a cousin of his, Kester McWilliams. Kester and his sister Esla are rich, sophisticated West Indians who can largely pass for white. Esla lives in London working as an artist and sharing a flat with Gabriella, a mondaine fashion editor; Kester is teaching at an English university. All are exiles at heart, and tonight's play follows the four characters as they move among a white society and tries to convey the feeling of emotional exile that affects each of them.

Cast :
Errol John (Jimmy Cardinez), Esther Anderson (Esla), Michael Griffiths (Kester McWilliams), Lelia Goldoni (Gabriella), Donald Douglas (Stanley), Ann Tirard (The Secretary), Hugh Morton (The Man), Deirdre Costello, Pauline Palmer, Limbert Spencer, Gil Sutherland, Margaret Pilleau, Priscilla Tanner and Robin Scott.

Notes & Trivia :
This episode had a running time of seventy-five minutes and was transmitted from 9:15pm to 10:30pm.

Film Cameraman for this episode was Peter Sargent. Sound Recordist for this episode was John Gatland. Film Editor for this episode was Michael Johns. Music for this episode was composed by Wilfred Josephs. Music for this episode was conducted by Marcus Dods.

This episode of The Wednesday Play was specifically listed in the Radio Times as "A BBC Film", the first time this classification was under throughout the duration of this programme.

Blodwen, Home From Rachel's Marriage
Transmitted : 30th April 1969
Script : David Rudkin
Director : Alan Cooke

Synopsis : The Wilderness family is oddly assorted. The Reverend Elwyn Wilderness is a nonconformist preacher whose unconventional behaviour is a constant source of embarrassment to his wife Molly and daughter Blodwen. Ioan, his son, is also a nonconformist, but he is a painter and, as his family suspects, uninterested in women and marriage. He realises the isolation into which his sister is sinking and urges her to go out and face the world beyond the local Sunday School. However, Blodwen and her mother form a closely knit unit in which any contact with the realities of life is shunned. When Blodwen is finally flung by circumstances into communication with people of her own generation, the experience proves horrifyingly traumatic.

Publicity : Blodwen, Home From Rachel's Marriage - David Griffiths has talked to actress Ann Beach who is seen in tonight's Wednesday Play at 9:10pm: Music brought Ann Beach to acting. In her teens she made many broadcasts as a singer with the BBC Welsh Orchestra, decided on an operatic career, and went to drama school to gain some experience of acting. She won two scholarships and showed such promise as an actress that she abandoned opera for the theatre. "I've had some marvellously varied and off-beat parts," says Ann, "but I've done very little television. I've had a few small character parts, but Blodwen in this filmed play is my first major part on television.

Irene Shubik, the producer, offered it to me and when I read David Rudkin's script I thought it had great deoth. But I didn't like this girl Blodwen! I had nothing in common with her and she reminded me of a relative with whom I've never got on. During the filming I got into Blodwen's skin and began to know and understand the problems and pressures that made her what she is. It's even improved my own family relations!". Ann (currently in Mame at the Drury Lane Theatre) admits that she can't help taking home a bit of whatever part she happens to be playing. And her husband, BBC Television producer Francis Coleman, had a tought time keeping calm during the filming of Blodwen. (Radio Times, April 24, 1969 - Article by David Griffiths).

Cast :
Ann Beach (Blodwen), Gilbert Wynne (Ioan), Megs Jenkins (Mrs Wilderness), William Squire (The Reverend Elwyn Wilderness), Karen Ford, Lala Lloyd, Joe McPartland, John Meehan, Kate Binchy, Shivaun O'Casey, Michael Lynch, Tom Laird, Nan Marriott-Watson, Lucretia Burgess, Declan Mulholland, Mary D'Arcy, Marie Makino, Sally Travers, Eamonn Boyce, Eric Brooks, Jonathon Barrett, Graham Charles, Michael Mayne, Nora Gordon, Beatrice Greeke, Marjorie Hogan and "Genesis" Beat (In Ulster), Leigh Lawson, Clive Merrison, Sheila Davies, Clare Jenkins, Heather Emmanuel, Jennifer Cox, Alba, William Ingram, Desmond Hoey, Jeffrey O'Kelly, Chrys Salt, Audrey Leybourne and Lesley Roach (In Wales).

Notes & Trivia :
This episode had a running time of seventy-five minutes and was transmitted from 9:10pm to 10:25pm.

Cameraman for this episode was Brian Tufano. Make-Up for this episode was supervised by Madelaine Gaffney. Wardrobe for this episode was supervised by June Wilson. Film Editor for this episode was Peter West.

Please note synopsis are taken from the original Radio Times listings for the day of transmission.
© Matthew Lee, 2004