The Play of the Week - Season 1

(ended 1961)


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Episode Guide

  • The House of Bernarda Alba
    Bernarda Alba is a widow, and her five daughters are incarcerated in mourning along with her. One by one they make a bid for freedom, with tragic consequences. Lorca's tale depicts the repression of women within Catholic Spain in the years before the war.
  • The Grand Tour
    The Grand Tour
    Episode 34
    Nell Valentine is a no longer young, school teacher, who for the first time in her sheltered life falls desperately in love during the course of a summer tour through Europe. Nell has planned this trip as a climax to long years of hope and preparation. But Ray Brinton, who has fallen in love with her and hopes to marry her, must tell her that not only he is already married but he is a fugitive from justice, having stolen money from his own bank. Nell is ready to marry him in spite of everything, until Ray's wife appears on the scene and shows she is still deeply attached to him.moreless
  • Mary Stuart
    Mary Stuart
    Episode 33
    The tale of two queens separated by historic identity but joined in their dramatic isolation' Observer. Mary Queen of Scots has been held prisoner for nineteen years by her cousin, Elizabeth I, who has condemned her to death, but is reluctant to be seen to carry out the sentence. Leicester, Elizabeth's favourite and Mary's ex-lover, engineers a meeting of the two Queens - an encounter which never took place in historical fact - from which Mary emerges triumphant but doomed.moreless
  • Archie and Mehitabel
    He is very sardonic and romantic attitude towards her. He disapproves of her wanton behavior but is also fascinated by her.
  • A Piece of Blue Sky
    A Piece of Blue Sky
    Episode 31
    During the Depression in the Bronx unhappiness and disappointment send Rose in search of a better life.
  • Night of the Auk
    Night of the Auk
    Episode 30
    Arrogant millionaire industrialist Rohnen has financed the first manned lunar expedition and has come along for the ride. Having reached the moon and now heading back to Earth. The mission was not a complete success: one member of the six-man expedition died on the moon, and his shipmates left him there. Now, on the way home, the five remaining spacemen make a terrible discovery: the ship has only enough oxygen left for TWO crewmen to reach Earth alive. Three of the men must stop breathing very soon, or else all five will run out of air long before the ship reaches Earth. Unless three men are willing to do the gentlemanly thing and commit suicide for the sake of their shipmates, someone will have to commit multiple murder to ensure his own survival. However, while the ship was on the moon, a nuclear war has broken out on Earth. Now, while the crewmen are arguing over which three of them should sacrifice themselves to save the other two, they also hear transmissions from their Earth base, describing events back home. An all-out nuclear holocaust has already begun, and the entire human race has been doomed by the radioactive fallout.moreless
  • Mornings at Seven
    Mornings at Seven
    Episode 29
    The lives of the four Gibbs sisters stir up a lifetime of familial affection and resentment, the joys with spurts of darker emotions sends us into a plot with the arrival of a stranger.
  • The Girls in Room 509
    Two ladies live like hermits as a result of the Democrat victory in the 1932 presidential election. Their humorous tribulations are compounded because the hotel they live in is scheduled for demolition and one of the ladies is out to trap a man--literally. Their story and reputed wealth attract a motley group of reporters and politicians.moreless
  • The Enchanted
    The Enchanted
    Episode 27
    A small French town is thrown off its equilibrium by a drowning and subsequent reports of a haunting ghost. A young schoolteacher, Isabel, is enchanted by the spirit and visits him nightly. An officious inspector comes from Paris to disprove this affront to rational society -- death is bones and worms, she argues -- and to return the town to order.moreless
  • A Palm Tree in a Rose Garden
    Rose Frobisher once won a beauty contest and on the strength of that came to Hollywood. After years of frustration she settled down to keep an apartment-rooming house which she called the Rose Garden. For a while she pinned her hopes on her daughter, but Lila was not interested in getting into the movies so Rose turned to a succession of roomers, young, beautiful and all with a burning desire to be a movie star.moreless
  • The Grass Harp
    The Grass Harp
    Episode 25
    A band of sweet misfits who defect from materialistic society and set up their own ideal civilization in a tree house. An orphaned boy sent to live with his two eccentric spinster aunts who helped shape the lad's way of looking at and listening to the world.
  • The Master Builder
    The Master Builder
    Episode 24
    Halvard Solness is a well known builder, a master builder, who has driven many of his rivals out of business in the course of his long career. He is currently building a house for himself and his wife, Aline, to be a home to properly replace Aline's family house which burnt down some years ago killing his twin baby sons.moreless
  • The Rope Dancers
    The Rope Dancers
    Episode 23
    Margaret his oppressive, overbearing and quarrelsome wife has failed to come to terms with her guilt-ridden past. She makes life hell for her aspiring writer husband James Hyland and her daughter Lizzie is pale from being kept home and away from school and friends. In trying to cope with her mother's tempestuous outbursts, she succumbs to an incurable nervous disorder.moreless
  • Volpone
    Episode 22
    Three English tourists in Venice and their refusal to succumb to the allure of Italian decadence embarks on a journey of human acceptance and frailities.
  • Climate of Eden
    Climate of Eden
    Episode 21
    A family of missionaries live in the jungles of British Guiana, where they have worked out an unconventional philosophy of life based on a practical compromise with civilization. Religion and morality are tempered with humour and tolerance. To this happy household comes Gregory Hawke, a young man who suffers from various complexes and neuroses. He joins the family, hoping that their simple way of life will cure him. He falls in love with one of the daughters and ultimately takes her with him after his recovery.moreless
  • A Very Special Baby
    A Very Special Baby
    Episode 20
    Joey Casale is 34 years old, the youngest of a family of six children; except for a brief period of glory during the War, he has stayed at home all his life, never held a steady job, and lived on the allowance his father has given him. His father is a self-made man, generous with all his children, outwardly very fond of Joey and of Anna, the eldest daughter who lives at home and keeps house for her father and brother. The two older sons are successful professional men, and his father teases Joey about his lack of achievement.moreless
  • Don Juan in Hell
    Don Juan in Hell
    Episode 19
    The Devil is at a loss to explain why anyone would want to be in that "most angelically dull place," heaven. The Statue, who has been there, agrees, comparing heaven to a classical music concert: Most people don't really appreciate it--they just think they ought to, he says. The hero who is being pursued by a determined woman falls asleep in the mountains of Spain and dreams himself as the legendary lover Don Juan, who is locked in a sprawling debate with three other denizens of Darkness: the Devil who has more charm and wit than fire and brimstone, a Soldier once felled by Don Juan in an earthly duel, and that man's daughter, Ana, whom Don Juan had seduced.moreless
  • Tiger at the Gates
    Tiger at the Gates
    Episode 18
    Set in Troy, a city doomed to betrayal and destruction. The story is of Hector's struggle to preserve peace in the face of patriotic sentimentality and mob hysteria.
  • Juno and the Paycock
    Captain Boyle is "Captain" by virtue of a single trip made as a seaman on a collier bound from London to Liverpool. He is usually known to his neighbors, however, as the "paycock" on account of his strutting, consequential gait. He and his crony, Joxer, spend most of their time drinking in "pubs" or playing cards in the Boyle flat, where Joxer flatters him to his face and steals from him behind his back. Boyle has nicknamed his wife "Juno" because she "was born and christened in June. I met her in June; we were married in June and Johnny was born in June." Throughout all the trouble and turmoil, Captain and his crony remain blissfully drunk and obtuse to their problems.moreless
  • Strindberg on Love
    Strindberg on Love
    Episode 16
    (1) Miss Julie = A poignant study of the ill-fated sexual encounter between an ambitious footman and a neurotic count's daughter. (2) The Stronger = Two women, one of whom silently listens to the other's compulsive confession.
  • Lullaby
    Episode 15
    A 38-year-old truck driver who elopes with a cigarette girl, but problems arise when they realize they don't know much about each other and his domineering mother won't leave the couple alone.
  • The Emperor's Clothes
    It's Christmas in 1930 Budapest and schoolteacher Elek Odry has been blacklisted by the totalitarian government regime.
  • The Closing Door
    The Closing Door
    Episode 13
    A once-great photographer who pretends to his family that he works at an office but really gets his money elsewhere. Scarred by an unhappy childhood, he harbors a bitter hatred towards his successful brother.
  • The Cherry Orchard
    The Cherry Orchard
    Episode 12
    Mme. Ranevskaya is brought home to her Russian estate after having fled to France amidst family tragedy. Returning home in 1900 after the liberation of the Serfs, nothing seems to have changed. The mansion has been impeccably kept up and the trees in the cherry orchard are in romantic bloom. The reality, however, soon sets in: The family fortune has been squandered. Lyubov holds out for a miracle to save her home, her past, and her beloved orchard. When wealthy friend Lopakhin, who grew up as a servant on the property, recommends selling and developing the orchard land in order to save the property, he is met with fierce opposition from the family. With the mortgage date drawing nearer, Lyubov's hopes become as empty as the leafless wintry appearance of the trees in the orchard.moreless
  • Thieves Carnival
    Thieves Carnival
    Episode 11
    Two attractive young girls reside in a palatial home, when their residence is invaded by three affectionate thieves, a romance unexpectedly develops between one of the girls and the youngest thief. Being too honest for his own good, he cannot in good conscience accept her love, and instead turns back with a vengeance to his criminal life ... but she happens to be swiftier and wilier than he is!moreless
  • The World of Sholom Aleichem
    Famed Yiddish storyteller Sholom Aleichem as he tells three tales: "A Tale of Chelm," about a bookseller who tries to buy a goat in a town of fools; "Bontche Schweig," a tale of a poor man whose heavenly arrival coaxes tears from the angels; and "The High School," about a couple's attempts to send their son to a nonreligious school.moreless
  • Simply Heavenly
    Simply Heavenly
    Episode 9
    Jesse B Semple is a hardworking man, often down on his luck, with an expensive divorce looming. He has a good woman to love but is tempted by the local siren and even more so by the neighbourhood bar. Life is very complicated!
  • Crime of Passion
    Crime of Passion
    Episode 8
    The mentality and morality of Communism in its story of a young Party member assigned to shoot a "deviationist".
  • The White Steed
    The White Steed
    Episode 7
    The alchemist Irish Priest, Father Shaughnessy, is an intolerant moralist who temporarily replaces Canon Matt Lavelle, whose legs have been paralyzed by a stroke. Father Shaughnessy forms a vigilance committee to stamp out sin, which in his view includes drinking, courting, and interfaith marriages. Through his committee he breaks up the engagement of schoolmaster Denis Dillon to a Protestant girl and discharges librarian Nora Fintry because she has been seen with a man. Denis is intimidated, but Nora is determined to fight the priest. She and Denis fall in love, and through her Denis finds the strength to stand up to the priest. Inspector Toomey, who has tried to protect the secular rights of those oppressed by the vigilance committee, threatens to arrest the priest, and a mob gathers to prevent him from doing so. Then Canon Lavelle appears, miraculously walking. He calms his parishioners, sends them home, and rebukes Father Shaughnessy for his hot-headedness and "spiritual snobbery."moreless
  • The Waltz of the Toreadors
    France 1910: a general fancies himself to be a toreador with the ladies, but he is disgusted with himself and the hollowness of his triumphs.
  • A Month in the Country
    A bored wife living in the Russian countryside falls in love with her little boy's handsome new tutor, just like all of the other women in the household. The wife's chief rival turns out to be her seventeen year-old ward.
  • Back to Back -- The Dock Brief & What Shall We Tell Caroline?
    The Dock Brief = A seedy broken down barrister attempts to defend innocuous murderer who is acquitted due to defence incompetence. What Shall We Tell Caroline? = Parent's resolve to teach their eighteen year old daughter the facts of life - despite their own ignorance.
  • Burning Bright
    Burning Bright
    Episode 3
    A wife who commits adultery out of the desire to give her sterile husband an heir. Acting out of love for her husband, she becomes pregnant by the third member of their acrobatic troupe.
  • The Power and the Glory
    The last priest is on the run. During an anti-clerical purge in one of the southern states of Mexico, he is hunted like a hare. Too human for heroism, too humble for martyrdom, the little worldly "whisky priest" is nevertheless impelled towards his squalid Calvary as much by his own compassion for humanity as by the efforts of his pursuers.moreless
  • Medea
    Episode 1
    The story focuses on Medea's jealousy and revenge when she discovers that her husband Jason plans to wed the daughter of the King of Creon.