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Within These Walls: Freedom (ITV 18 Mar 1978, with Caroline Mortimer)

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In Freedom the focus is once again on Marian Robertson, she is serving a no chance of parole life sentence for Treason (ie spying). The Foreign Office is still taking a very keen interest in her progress. Susan is told to have dinner with an FO Official. We find out on ger return that a key British agent has been captured by the Russians and Marian is going to be offered in exchange to secure his freedom. The question is whether Marian should be told. The general consensus is that they should keep it from her.

Marian shares a cell with Carol Stanstead, Marian discovers that Carol is planning an escape attempt. Another inmate, Jenny Sinclair, also knows about the plot (having been asked to pass on a message) and alerts Martha Parrish and Mrs Armitage. The plot is quickly quashed with talk of Carol being moved.

When the powers that be change their mind, everyone is relieved that they didn’t actually get Marian’s hopes up. Apart from Charles and Liz that is who have both independently let slip to Marian about the plan and then face the tricky task of telling her it is off. Marian herself is the very definition of stoic throughout the episode, even when spat upon by another inmate she doesn’t react. She has been given a sentence long enough that means she will die in prison and she knows it. There is a strong scene when Charles and Liz go to tell Marian, whilst she is on association with the rest of the wing, and just the look on their faces is enough to make it known. Marian is playing solitaire and Charles asks her if the hand is going to come out. Marian replys that the hands never come out as their are too many cards missing.

There is also an interesting subplot involving inmate Isabel Barron, she is due for release but in the last couple of months has ‘cracked’ and appears to have gone insane. Although Liz and Peter think she is genuinely crazy and think she should be sent to a mental institution, Charles thinks she is trying to prolong her punishment as part of her guilt over killing a baby. As the episode plays out it’s clear that Isabel is genuinely insane.

production details
UK / ITV – London Weekend Television / 1×50 minute episode / Broadcast Saturday 18 March 1978 at 11.15pm

Writer: Tony Parker / Production Design: Andrew Gardner / Director: Tony Wharmby

cast
Sarah Lawson as Susan Marshall
Denys Hawthorne as Dr Peter Mayes
Jerome Willis as Charles Radley
Beth Harris as Liz Clarke
Mona Bruce as Mrs Armitage
Sonia Graham as Martha Parrish
Caroline Mortimer as Marian Robertson
Penelope Nice as Carol Stanstead
Simon Lack as Mr Allan
Barbara Hickmott as Jenny
Philippa Urquhart as Isabel
Lorain Bertorelli as Steve
Avril Clark as Greta