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The Switch (Playhouse ITV Drama, Michael Bryant)



In one off play The Switch, broadcast under the Playhouse banner, Henry Martin, Head of a British relief team in South Vietnam is strongly opposed to the torturing of prisoners.

But then his son is kidnapped as hostage, and Henry is brought face to face with a captured Vietcong who knows where the boy is – but won’t talk. As the deadline for his son’s safe return draws near Henry Martin’s principles are put to a terrible test.

Author Maurice Edelman, at the time Labour M.P. for Coventry North, said in the TV Times: Sadistic crimes arouse in the most chivalrous people a desire for counter violence – to inflict on the aggressors the pain they inflict on the innocent. But I doubt whether it is the answer.

There wasn’t a huge amount of press around the play, unlike Edelman’s 1970 play The Prime Minister’s Daughter which garnered quite a few column inches. The Daily Mirror of Tues 8 June had a short piece about Joanna Dunham: When beautiful Joanna Dunham went for her first audition as an actress she was turned down because she was quite unsuitable. But she was urged to carry on acting by the man who turned her down – Richard Harris. Now she can pick and choose her parts. In tonights ITV play The Switch (9.00pm), she plays the wife of the head of a British voluntary relief team in South Vietnam whose son is kidnapped. Michael Bryant plays the husband.

Cast: Michael Bryant (Henry Martin), Joanna Dunham (Sheila Martin), Warren Stanhope (General Anderson), Burt Kwouk (Prisoner), Douglas Lambert (Adjutant), Bruce Boa (Senator Mabon), Kristopher Kum (Interrogator), Mark Rogers (Peter Martin), Richard Pendrey (Driver), Christopher Malcolm (First Officer), Denis Duval (Second Officer), Eric Young (Spokesman)

Writer: Maurice Edelman / Production Design: Michael Wield / Producer and Director: John Jacobs

UK / ITV – Anglia / 1×50 minute episode / Broadcast Tuesday 8 June 1971 at 9.00pm