A Roof Over Our Mouths (ITV Drama, Peter Barkworth)

In the one off drama A Roof Over Our Mouths, thanks to their infidelities the marriages of two couple’s are on the verge of collapse. The play was subtitled A Game The Whole Family Can Play.

A small preview in the Coventry Evening Telegraph (Tues 10 Jan, 1967) said: A Roof Over Our Mouths is derived from the fact that many people are quite happy talking about life, but try to avoid living it. They need a home and security so they can sit in comfort and talk about life—a roof over their mouths, in fact. Dany (Moira Redmond), an actress. is married to Robert (Peter Barkworthi, but is having an affair with another man Luke. Jacqueline. Luke’s wife. knows that he has a mistress but does not know her identity. Robert, however, is unaware of Dany’s infidelity. The two men – strangers to each other at first – meet by chance in a pub and begin to talk. By a strange coincidence the two women also meet. It’s a fascinating situation, of which Peter Draper takes full advantage as he guides his play neatly to its end.

There was an extensive review by Alice Frick of the play in The Stage (Thursday 19 Jan 1967): PETER DRAPER’S comedy for ATV on Thursday, January 12, A Roof Over Our Mouths, would have been more enjoyable if it had been cut and played faster. Comedy Playhouse could have made almost as much of the same idea in half an hour. A familiar comic theme, the round dance in which partners change, it was old when Shakespeare wrote the lovers’ scenes in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I kept wishing some of the repetitive chatter had been cut and that the lines hadn’t been so consistently underlined and plugged for laughs. High comedy isn’t achieved through the devices of the music hall. Peter Barkworth was the lynchpin, and it was his reading of Robert, the husband with an errant wife, who kept the play alive. One of those performances that conceal weaknesses in a script by an actor of the kind that should be remembered every night in the prayers of television writers. He is one of a precious band, the bacon-savers. Jennifer Hilary, the wife with a wandering husband, made good work of a number of her scenes, managing to tack pretty smoothly in the shifting headwind of her part. Dany and Luke, the pair having an extra-marital ding-dong, were paper parts. Corin Redgrave never quite succeeded in lifting his off the paper. Moira Redmond had more success with hers: it was tailor-made for her and she has made such roles her own.

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Jennifer Hilary and Corin Redgrave, although this is a colour publicity image the play was broadcast in black and white.

Clifford Davis, reviewing the show in the Daily Mirror (Fri 13 Jan 1967) was less than impressed with certain aspects of the production saying “I don’t go for humour involving sozzled women, not even if some of it takes place in a gentleman’s lavatory – yes, really!

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Some regions (Midlands, Southern, Channel, Westward) aired the play on Tuesday 10 Jan at 9.40pm. Others including Anglia chose to broadcast it on Thursday 12 Jan (also at 9.40pm).

Three weeks prior to the broadcast of this play Peter Draper had had another play broadcast on ITV, this had the great title of I Love Ivor Diver… Why the Devil Doesn’t He Love Me?

Cast: Moira Redmond (Dany), Peter Barkworth (Robert), Jennifer Hilary (Jacqueline), Corin Redgrave (Luke), Arthur Griffiths (Postman), Raymond Byrom (Waiter), Carlos Douglas (Club Manager), Julie Vertex (Stripper), George McGrath (Man in Club), Barry Kennington (Detective Sergeant Badget), Jan Williams (Girl in Club), David Hart (Edward), Harry Davis (Taxi Driver), Ros Drinkwater (Wendy), Bruce Wells (Masseur), Frank Peters (Masseur), Olive Mercer (Lady in Supermarket), Edith Hart (Waitress)

Writer: Peter Draper / Music: Derek Scott / Production Design: Henry Graveney / Producer: Cecil Clarke / Director: Graham Evans

UK / ITV – ATV / 1×50 minute episode / Broadcast either 10 or 12 January 1967 (depending where you were living in the country at the time)

Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.