TV UK TV

Way Upstream (BBC-1 1988, Nick Dunning, Joanne Pearce)

Way Upstream

In Way Upstream two couples, the husbands of which are partners in a successful novelty goods business, go on a boating holiday along a stretch of river. Things get off to a shaky start and then go downhill from there. Keith is determined to see himself as top dog and rides roughshod over the less confident Alistair.

The dynamic of the group changes when they decide to take on board Vince, a man whom appears to be wise in the ways of the river but clearly has an ulterior motive for being on board, namely trying to get off with the girls and drink as much alcohol as possible. Events then take a decidedly sinister turn when Vince decides he would like control of the boat.

Ayckbourn is superb at capturing that bickering that seems to go on with many long married couples. Barrie Rutter is quite superb as the embattled Keith. It’s very funny and at the same time slightly off kilter. By mid point we are heading into “Dead Calm” territory and Vince becomes increasingly unbalanced. By the end we are surely in the realms of fantasy!

classic quote
“This is mutiny you know, legally it is mutiny”

production details
UK / BBC-1 – Centre Films / 1×100 minute episode / Broadcast 1 January 1988

Writer and Director: Terry Johnson / Play: Alan Ayckbourn / Costumes: Jacqueline Parry / Music: Alan Brown / Production Design: Geoff Powell / Producer: Andree Molyneaux

cast
NICK DUNNING as Alistair
JOANNE PEARCE as Emma
BARRIE RUTTER as Keith
MARION BAILEY as June
STUART WILSON as Vince
LIZZY McINNERNY as Fleur
VERONICA CLIFFORD as Mrs Hatfield