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The Wednesday Play: Wear A Very Big Hat (BBC Drama)

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The Wednesday Play

Original Publicity: Johnny Clive and Neville Smith in tonight’s play by Eric Coltart – Wear A Very Big Hat. Most people have had an evening spoiled by an incident which leaves behind a bad taste in the mouth. This is just what happens in tonight’s play to Ann and Johnny Johnson, a young Liverpool couple. It all begins when Ann (Sheila Fearn) buys a new hat – a daring stetson – to wear on a night out with her husband Johnny (Neville Smith).

“Seriously. It’s gear,” is Johnny’s verdict on it as they set off for a meal followed by a drink with some friends in a local pub. When they meet Johnny’s mates, Harry and Billy, a very pleasant evening seems to be in prospect. But then something happens. Two rather foppish men are standing by the bar when Ann passes – with her striking new hat still perched cockily on her head. What follows is a small, slightly disagreeable “incident”. It passes over inconclusively, but it leaves a mark – particularly on Johnny’s mind. Endlessly he broods over it; he plays and replays the scene in his imagination; the more he thinks about it the more determined he becomes not to let the matter rest.

This is a play about ordinary, very human people. It says something about social insecurity; about honour and a sense of humour; about being stubborn and being reasonable; and about the untidiness of real life compared to the simplicity of the world of the imagination. The dialogue has real regional authenticity – the author Eric Coltart, is a Liverpool toolmaker. This is his first television play, although he has written two Z-Cars scripts. It is directed by Kenneth Loach.

Series: The Wednesday Play Season 2 Episode 7

Cast: Neville Smith (Johnny Johnson), Sheila Fearn (Ann Johnson), William Holmes (Snapper Melia), Johnny Clive (Billy Moffatt), Nola York (Shop Assistant), Malcolm Taylor (Stan), Alan Lake (Harry Atkins), Royston Tickner (Pub Manager), William Gaunt (Peter), James Hall (Colin), Margery Campi (Girl), Ken Jones (Dyke), David Jackson (Joey), John Swindells (Pub Customer), Tomi Yap (Waiter), Cecil Cheng (Waiter), Jack Cunningham (First Irishman), Dermot MacDowell (Second Irishman)

Writer: Eric Coltart / Director: Kenneth Loach

UK / BBC One / 1×75 minute episode / Broadcast 17 February 1965