Armchair Theatre: Volume 2
Armchair Theatre was ITV’s flagship drama anthology series. Initially screened between 1956 and 1973, it was hugely popular, with viewing figures occasionally reaching twenty million, and became a byword for quality in televised drama.
Pioneering, immensely influential and sometimes challenging in its content, the series consistently drew upon a wide range of talent. Armchair Theatre became a showcase for the post-war generation of British writers who sought to place sensitive social topics - in particular the British class system - under the microscope. Throughout, the series featured a number of powerful, award-winning plays, and its lasting influence was a testament to producer Sydney Newman’s passionate belief in television’s potential to bring high-quality drama to the viewing public.
This collection brings together a further eight plays, initially broadcast between 1970 and 1974. Featuring scripts by Donald Churchill (Spooner’s Patch), P.J. Hammond (Sapphire and Steel) and Roger Marshall, whose play ties into an episode of his most memorable series – Public Eye, the programmes include accomplished performances from, among others, John Thaw, Anton Rodgers, Kenneth Haigh, Bill Maynard, Susannah York, Gordon Jackson and Warren Clarke.
A doctor takes an attractive nurse into his home to help his wife through her convalescence. The stage looks set for an affair. But events take an unexpected course, and in the end, the doctor’s wife has to make a curious choice.
Starring Katharine Blake, Prunella Ransome and Gary Watson
Written by Roger Marshall
Directed by Kim Mills
Original ITV Transmission 10 November 1970
‘You don’t want to believe a word your dad says. Nobody else does.’ Young Ray hardly needs the advice. A budding poet, he particularly wants his father to go with him to the poetry competition at school – but father has something else on his mind, and Ray’s awakening disillusion is confirmed.
Starring John Thaw, Michael Jayston, Anne Carroll, William Relton and Keith Chegwin
Written by Douglas Livingstone
Directed by Kim Mills
Original ITV Transmission 5 October 1971
The Left Overs
Mike comes home to an ‘empty’ flat and finds a surprise waiting for him in the bath. After a time, he grows used to having his visitor around, but the bachelor flat will never be quite the same again…
Starring Anton Rodgers and Ann Bell
Written by Donald Churchill
Directed by Jonathan Alwyn
Original ITV Transmission 22 August 1972
An Edwardian high summer wraps Lady Huntercombe’s home in a cocoon of peace and quiet. But, on the day of the cricket match, her ladyship’s eldest son, Jack, returns from Paris. He then announces that he is back to claim his inheritance.
Starring Roland Culver, Donald Hewlett, Nerys Hughes and Margaret Leighton
Written by Terence Rattigan
Directed by Peter Duguid
Original ITV Transmission 12 September 1972
Gustave appears to be helping Adolph and Tekla to sort out their tangled marriage. But are his objectives really as uncomplicated as they seem?
Starring Susannah York, Kenneth Haigh and Anthony Higgins
Written by directed by Philip Saville, from an original play by August Strindberg
Original ITV Transmission 10 October 1970
The Death of Glory
Billy Turnbull despises his workmates - and is despised by them. In a house run with military precision, he lives with his father, an ex-sergeant major full of tales of past glory; Billy’s life is bound up with band practices and dreams of the army he could never hope to join. But are son and father both just dreamers?
Starring Warren Clarke, Bill Maynard, Dandy Nichols, Leslie Schofield and Karl Howman
Written by Robert Holles
Directed by Gareth Davies
Original ITV Transmission 11 September 1973
The Square of Three
Johnny Orange opted for a life in the regular army. He finds himself bored, disillusioned… and happy.
Starring Christopher Beeny, Gordon Jackson, Tony Selby, John Duttine and Anthony Allen
Written by P.J. Hammond
Directed by Derek Bennett
Original ITV Transmission 16 October 1973
According to the Rules
Chief Inspector Flaherty’s integrity is challenged when he and his son come up against blackmail, money and power…
Starring Liam Redmond, Oliver Maguire, Fedelma Cullen and James Berwick
Written by Dominic Behan
Directed by Piers Haggard
Original ITV Transmission 9 July 1974