In The Nearly Man Labour M.P. Chris Tomlinson has been a back bencher for years, apart from one brief spell as a junior minister, he’s growing pretty tired of the game. There is a general election looming and his party group are fully behind him but he himself is not sure if he has had enough.
This was the play that led to the series a year later, it’s quite low key but the dialogue, as befitting Arthur Hopcraft, is first rate and gives you plenty of pause for thought. It’s a nice twist having super smooth Tony Britton as Labour man Tomlinson. In the series he would be called Collinson because of a real life MP called Tomlinson. Michael Elphick is typically brilliant as Tominlinson’s agent Ron Hibbert.
Unlike the series this opening play was all shot on film.
UK / ITV – Granada / 1×50 minute episode / Broadcast Sunday 4 August 1974 at 10.15pm
Writer: Arthur Hopcroft / Production Design: Alan Price / Director: John Irvin
Series: The Nearly Man
Tony Britton as Chris Tomlinson
Ann Firbank as Alice Tomlinson
Wilfred Pickles as Bernard King
Michael Elphick as Ron Hibbert
Barry Gosney as Peter Borry
Richard Butler as Geoff
Jean Rimmer as Ethel
Chris Canavan as Billy
Beth Morris as Deirdre
Joby Blanchard as Mr Deakin
Joe Holroyd as Club Secretary
Bernard Atha as Photographer
Barbara Moor Black as Miss Dawson