Five Stories of an Hour (ITV 1988, Zoe Wanamaker, Jilly Bond)

Written in 1894, Chopin’s tale explores relationships between the sexes. When Louise Mallard hears that her husband has been killed in a railroad accident, she realises, during the course of the following hour, that she may actually enjoy life alone. A shock revelation, however, brings a bitter twist to the afternoon’s events. In the first sequence Zoe narrates the original story to camera.

The second adaptation dramatises the tale, while the third, a monologue by Louise’s husband, Brently, reveals a few home truths about the couple’s marriage. For the fourth re-telling the plot is more freely adapted, with an alternative ending. Following biographical information about Chopin, the final rendition sees Zoe read the story once again, dressed as the author in period costume.

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Produced for The English Programme, Five Stories of an Hour draws out some of the key issues in Chopin’s work for a modern audience.

production details
UK | ITV – Thames (for The English Programme) | 1×50 minutes | Broadcast 1988

Based on the short story ‘The Story of an Hour’, by Kate Chopin; adaptations by Kathleen Potter, David Stafford and Michelene Wandor
Directors: Paul Kafno (stories one, three, five), Greg Lanning (story two) and David Hodgson (story four)
Production Designers: Anne Diamond (stories one, three, five) and Alison Wratten (story four)
Costume Designers: Pam Doolan (stories one, three, four, five) and Fran Bolwell (story two)
Makeup: Angela Seyfang (stories one, three, four, five)

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Jilly Bond as Josephine, Louise’s Sister
Julian Gartside as Brently Mallard
ZoÎ Wanamaker as Narrator; Louise Mallard
Christopher Luscombe as Richards

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.