Penda’s Fen (BBC Drama, Spencer Banks, Ian Hogg)

In Play For Today Penda’s Fen young Stephen Franklin (Spencer Banks) is on the cusp of adulthood, about to leave school but more concerned with upholding what he sees as a correct view of English life as espoused by his Parson father (John Atkinson), however a mystical encounter is the catalyst for Stephen to question everything he has previously thought.

Fabulous dialogue and with much that is certainly even more relevent today than it was in the seventies, much of what David Rudkin talks about with regards to entertainment, the environment and life has come to pass. Ian Hogg is clearly playing a version of Rudkin himself as the writer who shakes up Stephen’s ideas about the world around him.

RELATED:   BBC Goes Big onProms This Summer With Mammoth 24 Concerts

A good performance too from Spencer Banks as the young man struggling to come to terms with his sexuality and the whole notion of the drama is very much left in the mind and eyes of the viewer, how much is what Stephen experiences real and how much is his fevered imagination.

Series: Play For Today Season 4 Episode 16

Cast: SPENCER BANKS as Stephen; JOHN ATKINSON as Reverend J. Franklin; GEORGINE ANDERSON as Mrs Franklin; RON SMERCZAK as Joel; IAN HOGG as Arne; JENNIE HESLEWOOD as Mrs Arne; GRAHAM LEAMAN as Sir Edward Elgar; CHRISTOPHER DOUGLAS as Honeybone; JOHN RICHMOND as Headmaster; IVOR ROBERTS as Cooke; JOAN SCOTT as The Lady; RAY GATENBY as The Man; HELENA McCARTHY as Mrs Kings; JOYCE GRUNDY as Mrs Gisbourne; FRANK VEASEY as Council Workman; ELIZABETH REVILL as Nurse; MORAY BLACK as Sixth Former; JOHN SCOTT as Sir Nicholas Pole; ROY PRESTON as Brott; PAT BOWKER as Joel’s Girl; GEOFFREY STAINES as King Penda; GEOFFREY PENNELLS as Demon; MARTIN REYNOLDS as Angel

RELATED:   BBC Crime Thriller The Jetty: A Conversation with the Cast and Creatives

Writer: David Rudkin / Script Editor: Tara Prem / Costumes: Joyce Hawkins / Special Effects: Clifford Culley / Animation: Bernard Lodge / Radiophonic Sound: Paddy Kingsland / Production Design: Michael Edwards / Producer: David Rose / Director: Alan Clarke

UK / BBC One / 1×90 minute episode / Broadcast 21 March 1974

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.