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Fable (The Wednesday Play BBC One 27 Jan 1965, Eileen Atkins, Rudolph Walker)



Whitney Houston & Bobbi Kristina

A key entry in The Wednesday Play strand, Fable turned the tables on the issue of apartheid with the setting of Britain that is a totalitarian state run by blacks and it is the whites who face segregation. Taking a whole lot of pot shots at the then current state of play in South Africa (where Apartheid was at it’s height) the drama focused on oppressed white couple Joan and Len who had found themselves forced apart under the new regime. They turn to help from black middle-class liberal writer Mark Fellowes.

As in the real world there are no easy answers to the situation and ultimately Fellowes is unable to do anything to help Joan and Len.

Initially scheduled for 20 January the drama aired a week later, some of this was down to a by-election that was in full swing in East London. The production also made ample use of documentary footage from both South Africa and Vietnam.

Writer Hopkins was somewhat prolific through the 1960’s, he started out writing episodes of Z Cars before becoming one the most reliable writers of the decade. The following year the BBC screened his most well remembered drama, Talking to a Stranger, a sequence of four plays all covering one weekend. Judi Dench made a real breakthrough with her performance in the drama.

production details
UK / BBC One / 1×75 minute episode / Broadcast 27 January 1965

Series: The Wednesday Play Season 1 Episode 10

Writer: John Hopkins / Story Editor: Roger Smith / Producer: James MacTaggart / Director: Christopher Morahan

Keith Barron as Narrator
Eileen Atkins as Joan
Ronald Lacey as Len
Rudolph Walker as Policeman
Leo Carera as Editor
Bari Johnson as Deputy Editor
Thomas Baptiste as Mark
Barbara Assoon as Francesca
Dan Jackson as Overseer
Carmen Munroe as Lala
Sally Lahee as Lilian
George Roderick as Laughton
Trevor Rhone as Assistant Editor
John Rapley as Michael
André Dakar as Head of State
Frank Singuineau as Minister
Charles Hyatt as News Reader
Thor Pierres as Secretary
Kenneth Gardnier as Interrogator