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

Normal Service Will Be Resumed As Soon As Possible

Four editions of The Wednesday Play quietly slipped themselves into the schedules in advance of the sixth season of the series, which premiered in November 1966. Two new productions and two plays previously broadcast on BBC-2 served to recultivate interest in the programme before the launch of what would become the series' most ambitious, successful and internationally-renowed collection of drama and comedy.

Photo Finish
Peter Ustinov's Photo Finish, which had enjoyed critical acclaim on BBC-2 under the production stewardship of the legendary Bernard Hepton, was elevated to The Wednesday Play for a repeat screening in late September 1966, followed a week later by A Hero Of Our Time, a play which further consolidated Alan Bates' position as an actor of commanding screen presence. The story itself concerned a Russian cadet torn between the love of two beautiful women, and proved popular fare - albeit chiefly fostered by BBC Television's recent spate of repeat broadcasts of selected high-calibre and usually highly controversial plays previously broadcast under The Wednesday Play banner.

The Frighteners, one of the more memorable editions from the popular Londoners series, enjoyed a repeat transmission on the premier channel in mid-October 1966, and the fourth and final edition of this brief run of out-of-season mid-week plays was Terence Dudley's A Piece Of Resistance, which explored the question of how the British would have stood up to a German occupation during World War Two.

The play afforded memorable turns to Lally Bowers and William Kendall, and was a perfect reflection of the production prowess of Cedric Messina. This brief series of unconnected plays set in place a renewed thirst for the high calibre fare that The Wednesday Play had customarily delivered to audiences, but the season which was to follow would turn all possible criticial and viewer expectations on their head.

© Matthew Lee, 2004