Talking to a Stranger offers up a quartet of plays following one fraught family weekend, shown from the differing points of view of members of the family. The same key events were seen but with different meaning for those involved and through the clever use of flashbacks, lots of different aspects of the story emerging.
The dialogue on Talking To A Stranger was superb, very real, especially for the time it was made and Judi Dench is incredibly powerful as daughter Terry, well deserving of her BAFTA award.
A massively important piece of television, one of the first proper and successful attempts to take the medium of drama and the medium of television and marry the two strengths of each of them together. Hopkins had cut his teeth on Z Cars (with over 50 episodes to his credit) but everything came to perfect fruition here.
A canadian version was mounted in 1971.
UK / BBC-2 / 4×90 minute episodes / Broadcast 2 – 23 October 1966
Writer: John Hopkins / Story Editor: James Brabazon / Graphics: John Richies / Music: Wilfred Josephs / Production Design: Richard Wilmot / Producer: Michael Bakewell / Director: Christopher Morahan
JUDI DENCH as Terry
MICHAEL BRYANT as Alan
MAURICE DENHAM as Father
MARGERY MASON as Mother
PINKIE JOHNSTONE as Jess
CALVIN LOCKHART as Leonard
EMRYS JAMES as Gordon
TIMOTHY CARLTON as Geoffrey Lawrence
ANN MITCHELL as Mother as a young woman
FREDERICK PYNE as Father as a young man
BARRY STANTON as Father’s Friend
GAYNOR JONES as Terry as a child
KEITH KENT as Alan as a Child
The episodes were titled
1. ANYTIME YOU’RE READY, I’LL SPARKLE (Terry’s story)
2. NO SKILL OR SPECIAL KNOWLEDGE REQUIRED (Father’s story)
3. GLADLY, MY CROSS EYED BEAR
4. THE INNOCENT MUST SUFFER