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Atrocity (BBC Drama, Anthony Douse, Alex Marshall)

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In Atrocity Jepson (Anthony Douse), an outwardly mild mannered office clerk, is a man with a non-stop obsession with torture and death, especially where mutilation is involved.

The play’s raison d’être was that so many atrocities were now so commonplace (at the time it was Vietnam and Ireland that were on the front pages everyday) that they had lost their power to shock and rather than Jepson being considered sick it’s is in fact the accepting who are the troubled ones.

Sheldon Larry reviewed the production in The Stage and Television Today (Mar 22, 1973) felt that it was “too elliptical a piece (in perhaps too short a time slot) to do anything other than baffle and frustrate.” He felt there it was too fragmentary and cluttered. “Atrocity was a series of episodes, the scenes not unlike a succession of waxworks tableaux.,” Larry continued.

The production was part of a series of short plays broadcast from the BBC’s Birmingham studios. The sixth in fact. Being a David Rudkin piece it was not have been a straightforward production. The following year the BBC would produce Rudkin’s best remembered work, the Play For Today entry Penda’s Fen.

Cast: Anthony Douse as Jepson; Alex Marshall as Miss Miles; Doreen Hepburn as Mrs McAllister; Malcolm Terris as Stranger in Waxworks

Writer: David Rudkin / Production Design: Stanley Morris / Producer: David Rose / Director: Barry Hanson

UK / BBC Two / 1×35 minute episode / Broadcast 15 March 1973