Regional drama

John Timbers

A parent-child relationship was also the theme of A Shilling for the Evil Day, an Ulster story by Joseph Tomelty which was one of several plays with a strong regional flavour presented by Armchair Theatre.

J. G. Devlin and Elizabeth Begley, both distinguished Ulster players, came together again in this drama of a fishing village on All Souls’ Night.

Charles Jarrott, an Englishman who had made his name in Canada, came home to join ABC as a director, and this play showed the combination of warmth, sensitivity and technical brilliance that has earned him much praise throughout the year.

George Haslam designed the sets

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

Summer at the seaside

Summer time at ABC means Holiday Town Parade. This popular annual show takes David Southwood and his Outside Broadcast team every summer round the seaside resorts on the East and West coasts of the North and Midlands, building up a fund of local goodwill through the interest aroused by its contests for the TV Bathing Beauty Queen, the TV Fashion Queen and the TV Adonis of Great Britain.

Errol Flynn, Boris Karloff and John Gregson have helped to crown the Beauty Queen, while Pierre Balmain and Norman Hartnell are among those who have bestowed the Fashion accolade.

McDonald Hobley is the programme’s host, and Joe Loss and his Orchestra were a popular backbone of the show until they were claimed by the Hammersmith Palais

Bedford Studios

▼ Summer for ABC’s Drama Department meant Armchair Mystery Theatre, whose resident host was one of Britain’s busiest actors, Donal Pleasence, taking time off to make his introduction and to star in one of the plays, Machinal, between performances of Harold Pinter’s stage success, The Caretaker

John Timbers

Diana Wynyard gave a remarkable performance as a paralysed woman, using only her eyes and recorded thoughts, in the opening play, Eye Witness, specially written by Leslie Sands and directed by Charles Jarrott

John Timbers

John Gregson was another star visitor to the series, mocking the traditional Secret Service man in Flight from Treason, a spy thriller by schoolmaster James Mitchell, directed by Dennis Vance