Original TV Times article published June 1960
Four building labourers are toiling on a London site. It is not a big, exciting construction job, just a conversion-dirty, boring work. They are disgruntled and preoccupied with their various ambitions.
Tom (William Hartnell) has been building his own house in his spare time; Larry (Bryan Pringle) wants to become a salesman; Paddy (Paul Farrell) has been trying to save money to return to Ireland; and Nipper (Dudley Sutton), the tea boy, day-dreams about success with women.
Their foreman (Robert Shaw) is an unpleasant man, unable to get his teams respect. So, in the guise of a realist, he mocks each worker, attempts to destroy their dreams and never loses an opportunity to tell them that only he will succeed and become a guv'nor.
Author Patrick Hughes knows the background intimately. Although writing is his great interest, he also works as an architect. "When I was a student I worked on building sites as part of my training," he said. "I would like to issue bouquets to the cast, director and designer for making the play look so authentic." In fact, the fulfillment of an ambition is a subject that touches Hughes personally. In 1958 Hughes gave up architecture to write, and said at the time: "I had to give up architecture, even though I knew I was risking my future. I don't yet earn as much money as I used to, but I'm a much happier man." Now he is back in architecture, writing mostly at night. "But I've written another three plays and I think one of them, a comedy, is likely to be presented on ITV fairly soon," he addded.
The parts of Tom and the foreman mean welcome changes in their usual roles for William Hartnell and Robert Shaw. "Tom is a thoroughly sympathetic, decent bloke," said Hartnell, "different from the hard military type. It looks as though I may be going back into uniform for my next part, but I've had a break from the Army lately (Hartnell had just given up his long-running role of CSM Percy Bullimore in The Army Game). I was a merchant seaman in Probation Officer a few weeks ago. It's been nice to show that I am not a chap who can play only sergeants."
Robert Shaw made his name on ITV as the swashbuckling hero Dan Tempest in The Buccaneers series. He prefers the sympathetic parts, "But I've have played a few villians and enjoy the change." The wickedness of the foreman is enhanced through being played with a veneer of friendliness. Shaw recently achieved his ambition to be a successful wroter. "I wrote a number of plays and even had one of them performed at the Arts Theatre. It got some good notices. But I don't consider any of my plays to be good," he said. "I tried a novel, 'The Hiding place', and it's made a good deal of money-a huge success here and it got enthusiastic notices in America."
Paul Farrell (Paddy) is a Dubliner who divides his time between Ireland and England. He started work as a civil servant, achieved his ambition to become an actor at the age of 24, since he has played in all the famous Irish theatres and appeared in many TV plays and films.
Bryan Pringle (Larry) is the son of a Bolton vicar. He started his acting career at the age of 17 when he went to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art "with the intention of winning a Gold Medal." And he did.
Dudley Sutton, who is some 10 years older than the part he plays, is also a former student of the Academy. He has been seen in such TV programmes as Knight Errant and Shadow Squad. His ambition: "To write a good comedy series for television."
A Place of My Own was a Television Playhouse presentation made by Granada as a TV Network Production. Directed by James Ormerod, it was broadcast at 9.35 pm on Friday 17 June 1960.
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