In The Last Rent Dinner James is planning a major revamp of his estate, a five year plan to completely revitalise all the farms. Estate manager Joseph Roper is none too keen on the plans and neither do more than a few of the tenants. Especially as they will need to sign new tenancy agreements. Roper is even more perturbed when he learns that Hadleigh intends to employ a farms director to oversee operations.
Meanwhile Jennifer has been Mrs Hadleigh for a full ten days and is finding the going tough, especially when it comes to dealing with the super efficient Sutton. She also has her first big social occasion to deal with, the annual Rent Dinner, when James entertains all his tenants.
Jennifer is very keen to stamp her own authority on the household, even if it means putting Sutton in his place.
The rent dinner isn’t quite the social situation Jennifer had hoped for as discussions for the plans for the estate get out of hand. Hadleigh, having discovered just how much Roper has been lining his own pockets, puts him to rights. Jennifer is also superb when she puts everyone in their place at the dinner. She’s a real strong force that’s for sure.
The always brilliant Brian Blessed is Roper, he is such a presence of course that he tends to dominate every scene he is. Jack Woolgar had previously appeared in Hadleigh just a few short episodes before in Season 2’s The Diplomat. There he had played the elderly German head of the Prager household. Here he is on more familiar territory as disgruntled farmer Gunning.
“you gutless parasites.”
UK / ITV – Yorkshire / 1×50 minute episode / Broadcast Friday 6 July 1973 at 9.00pm
Writer: Carey Harrison / Production Design: Andrew Drummond / Director: Bob Hird
Series: Hadleigh Season 3 Episode 3
Gerald Harper as James Hadleigh
Hilary Dwyer as Jennifer Hadleigh
Brian Blessed as Joseph Roper
Jack Woolgar as Rufus Gunning
Ambrosine Phillpotts as Aunt Helen
Stella Tanner as Alice Gunning
Peter Dennis as Sutton
Peter Schofield as Shepherd
Kathy Staff as Mrs Brennan
Gwen Harris as Mrs Lillee