TV UK TV

Design For Living (BBC-1 1979, Rula Lenska, Clive Arrindell)

Set between Paris in 1933 and London in 1935 Design For Living is quite the piece of decadence. Gilda, Otto and Leo develop a kind of intense menage a trois, with both men passionately in love with Gilda but she can’t quite make up her mind who she wants.

Some gorgeous production design and and a surprisingly adult take for the time (but then Coward was never afraid to push the envelope a little) make this Play of the Month entry a highly enjoyable watch. There is also a nice twist about half way through when the menage develops into a duo and it is not the duo you think it is going to be. There was an earlier version made for Granada in 1964.

production details
UK / BBC-1 / 1×105 minute episode / Broadcast 6 May 1979

Writer: Noel Coward / Script Editor: Stuart Griffiths / Costumes: Betty Aldiss / Production Design: Colin Shaw / Producer: Louis Marks / Director: Philip Saville

cast
RULA LENSKA as Gilda
CLIVE ARRINDELL as Otto
JOHN STEINER as Leo
JOHN BLUTHAL as Ernest Friedman
DANDY NICHOLS as Miss Hodge
HELEN HORTON as Grace Torrence
MARTHA NAIRN as Helen Carver
VINCENT MARZELLO as Henry Carve
BRITTON SAIN WALKER as Matthew