T-T goes ‘straight’

John Timbers

A form of magic that goes badly wrong provokes Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime, when on of London’s eligible bachelors is led into a disasterous series of experiments with explosive devices after a palmist tells him he is destined to commit murder.

Terry-Thomas made his debut as a straight actor on ITV in ABC’s adaptation of the Oscar Wilde story for Armchair Theatre, and Robert Coote, recently released from several years’ service as Colonel Pickering in My Fair Lady, made his British TV debut as Lord Arthur’s manservant.

The palmist was Arthur Lowe.

The director was Alan Cooke, and Englishman home on leave after nine years in Hollywood, and George Haslam designed the magnificently Gothic sets

Two views of the military man

John Timbers

Another old-guard soldier, but this time of a more human kind, was created by Clive Exton in his comedy Some Talk of Alexander.

Harry Andrews had waited eight years to find a TV play to his liking before making his ITV debut as the former Guards nco who readjusts himself to civiliian life in the greengrocer’s shop kept by Ingeborg Wells and her son James Culliford.

Alan Cooke, who has a gifted hand with comedy, directed the play.

A very different Clive Exton story about a military man was Hold My Hand, Soldier, illustrated right with a scene from each of its deeply moving acts. Victor Maddern, Gordon Jackson and Ronald Fraser were the only three players in this modern parable of a private soldier’s journey to Calvary, presented by Armchair Theatre on Easter Sunday.

John Moxey did some of his finest work as a director of this play, while James Goddard, a new name among ABC’s young designers, created the sets for both Exton productions

Mark Hamilton

The new season

John Timbers

▲ Preparing for the current season of Armchair Theatre are five artists from America who are among the increasing number of writers, directors and actors from abroad who are entrusting their reputations to this programme.

Hollywood playwrights Peggy and Lou Shaw wrote The Cake Baker with Kim Stanley in mind but were too shy to send it to her.

Then their friend Alan Cooke came home to Britain to direct for ABC and sent the script to Miss Stanley in New York.

She flew over to star in it with California-born William Sylvester… and the authors flew in from Hollywood to share the occasion! Left to right Lou and Peggy Shaw, Kim Stanley, William Sylvester, Alan Cooke

Television is a here-today, gone-tomorrow medium;
by the time the audience see a programme, the planners are already at work on the next show…