Local politics

Still in a provincial setting, Armchair Theatre presented Girl in the Market Square, a strong story by ABC contract writers Malcolm Hulke and Eric Paice.

John Moxey gave the direction an authentic flavour of regional vitality, helped by the designs of Peter Mullins and a rousing performance by Leo MacKern as the watch committee chairman and newspaper proprietor who ran over a girl driving home from a civic dinner and tried to cover up for the sake of his family and employees.

Rupert Davies Played the police chief and Andrew Ray the son who unmasked his father


John Timbers

Baldpates and blondes

The television camera is no respecter of persons.

Whether you are a leading churchman, a distinguished man of letters or a blonde bombshell of the movies, the make-up girl will still have to take the shine off that Yul Brynner head and advise little grains of powder, little dabs of paint for the pretty face

Left, above the Bishop of Aberdeen and Orkney gets a make-up lesson on ABC’s Religious Training Course;
below Sir Charles Snow is made up for The Book Man;
lower Jayne Mansfield prepares for her guest spot in After Hours;
bottom Diana Dors shows how it’s done to Deborah Buchan, granddaughter of the famous novelist, who made her TV debut with Miss Dors in Armchair Theatre


Stanley Allen

Glamorous blonde

Ronald Cohen

Diana Dors has shown herself to be a talented dramatic actress in a number of films, but except for one production eight years ago she had never appeared in a TV play until she starred for Armchair Theatre in The Innocent, a murder mystery by Bob Kesten.

A visitor to the set was Miss Dors’ husband, Dickie Dawson. With them standing, right is director Charles Jarrott.

Kynaston Reeves is the legal gentleman caught during rehearsal in an attitude no one is ever likely to see a real-life judge adopting

Glamorous brunette

John Timbers

In Roman Gesture, a romantic drama by Ira Avery, Charles Jarrott again showed his gift for investing a TV play with the gloss and glamour of a good Hollywood film.

With his wife Katharine Blake in the lead, Jarrott and designer George Haslam presented Armchair Theatre audiences with the story of a famous star returning home to Italy to make a film with the director who discovered her.

Miss Blake, an English actress who was three times awarded the Canadian TV ‘Oscar’, was acclaimed for her performance as Carla Mellini, and Arthur Hill flew from New York to play the American publicity man who falls in love with her



Clifford Evans also made a memorable impression in Roman Gesture as the Italian director who discovered, loved and lost Mellini, and now must reassert his authority over her before they can get down to work on their new film.

Here he rejects her rendering of a scene, shows her how he wants it done, and gets a fiery reaction from his star

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

The military mind

Sir Donald Wolfit was another famous player who created a period role for Armchair Theatre.

Philip Saville directed him in The Last of the Brave, Stanley Mann’s powerful story of a retired French colonel, obsessed with the ideal of discipline, who drives his son to the 1914 War and later shoots the wounded boy when he reveals himself as a coward.

Paul Massie played the son and Rosemary Scott the mother.

Assheton Gorton designed the sets

Warwick Bedford

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

American visitors

Warwick Bedford

Among the US stars who came to Britain for Armchair Theatre in 1960 were John Ireland and Ed Degley.

Ireland is seen above with Peter Dyneley and Constance Cummings in The Last Tycoon, a play from the Scott Fitzgerald story directed by William Kotcheff with designs by Timothy O’Brien; Ed Begley was directed in A Phone Call for Matthew Quade by David Greene, an Englishman who has become one of Hollywood’s top TV directors

John Timbers

End of term

John Timbers

Another type of ABC extravaganza was On the Spot, in which adapter Clive Exton and director Philip Saville took the mickey out of Edgar Wallace’s famous comedy thriller play of Chicago in the Roaring Twenties to close the Armchair Theatre season.

The picture above, like an old movie still, shows David McCallum putting a rival gangster on the spot, whilst Ted and Julie Allen left brought Toni Perelli and Minn Lee to life again.

Yvonne Romain as Maria guys the giddy flapper below in Voytek’s baroque set

Play of the year

Roger Mayne

Playwright of the year 1960 has undoubtedly been Harold Pinter, whose work in the theatre and on television has made him the most talked-about young dramatist in Britain.

ABC commissioned his first TV play, A Night Out: it broke all records by being the only play ever to head the list of audience ratings in TAM’s Top Ten.

The author himself appeared in this story about young insurance clerks; his commentary on the firm’s football team to Philip Lock top was in the best Pinter vein.

Above they discuss their night out with Tom Bell.

The pictures at right have captured the stoical solitude which is a signature of the Pinter plays, brilliantly caught on this occasion by the direction of Philip Saville, at his peak on this production, whose cameras orchestrated the author’s intention as exactly as the settings by Assheton Gorton