Archive TV review: The Last Train Through the Harecastle Tunnel + Lost Yer Tongue

The second screening in the Peter Terson “The Artisan Playwright” season at the BFI Southbank again teamed a BBC play with one from Granada Television.

In 1969 The Wednesday Play made a return with ‘The Last Train Through the Harecastle Tunnel’, a quirky piece about a trainspotter (Richard O’Callaghan) who encounters lots of oddball eccentrics during his weekend. While one his work colleagues muse about painting his house near the golf club, and another plans a dirty weekend, young Fowler simply looks forward to riding the old ‘Knotty’ line through the about to be decommissioned Harecastle Tunnel. To him the railways are a place of dreams and adventure, obvious from his enthusiasm when discussing points and railway sleepers with a suburban new money couple (Victor Platt and Noel Dyson), his delight in trying on the old railwayman’s uniform (a lovely performance from Joe Gladwin, better known perhaps as Wally Batty in ‘Last of the Summer Wine’), or his afternoon operating the replica signals in Judge Grayson’s dysfunctional house (a scene-stealing performance from the peerless John Le Mesurier). Finally this journey leads him to the house of a concert violinist with a potentially dark secret (Emmerdale Farm’s Toke Townley).

This play might be a little hard to swallow (so many eccentrics in one place, including Army personnel and a sadly stereotypical gay cruiser, not to mention Le Mesurier’s weird daughter, played by Angela Pleasence, but it is very tightly written and rather charming, catching perfectly the mood that brings railway enthusiasts together. The most curious thing about this play is the director – Alan Clarke, now best known for productions like The Firm, and Scum.

The second play showing was ‘Lost Yer Tongue’, from 1975. With a largely unknown cast headed by Ronald Herdman, Bobby Pattinson, Lizzie McKenzie, and Deirdre Costello, this is a sharp look at working class millionaires and father and son relationships, and despite the rather dark subject matter it treats the subject with humour and very well-written characters and plot. It couldn’t be more different than ‘Harecastle’ in its mood, but it is equally excellent, as we watch everything slipping away from Bernie, the man who thought he had made it big and had nothing to lose. In fact he loses everything he holds dear and realises the amount of subterfuge that has been going on behind his back with the best intentions by those who care about him. Directed by Mike Newell, who has made a big success in international cinema.

About Louise Penn

Writer, reviewer, fan. View all posts by Louise Penn

2 responses to “Archive TV review: The Last Train Through the Harecastle Tunnel + Lost Yer Tongue

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Loud Alien Noize

Revealing the True Origins of Silence

Pfeiffer Pfilms and Meg Movies

Blog titling at its best

Emily Baycroft

Currently a final year English student at the University of Cambridge. Producing Intern for Fuel Theatre July-October 2016. Aspiring Arts Administrator/Theatre Producer, blogging about my projects (mostly).

MTAS

West End Reviews | West End Challenges | Exclusive West End News

A Red Lip And A Nude Shoe

Dior Dreams On A Kmart Budget

is there room for me to sew?

Quilting, Reading and the Movies

The Case for Jeanette and Nelson

"Whaddya gonna do? I love her. I think she loves me." -Nelson Eddy on the Jack Parr Show, 1960

STARDUST AND SHADOWS

Opinions on Classic Hollywood , B Movies, Grindhouse, SF film , Classic Horror, Film Noir, Books, and related subjects by Canadian film guy TERRY SHERWOOD. (This site is not affiliated with author Charles Foster and his book Stardust and Shadows.)

The Wonderful World of Cinema

This blog is all about cinema, movies and stars of every decades. It's wonderful!

Movie classics

Thoughts on older movies, especially those from the 1930s to 1950s.

Hiss and Tell

Featuring Gryff, the angry diabetic cat, and the humans who serve him

TESSA BARRIE'S LOST BLOGS

LIFE'S TOO SHORT TO BE NICHE ...

[insert title here]

just one of many things i'm still trying to figure out

buchanblog

A trip down Memorex lane

The Phantom Frame

Information about the creative works of Gareth Preston

West End Blog

Bringing you independent, honest, experienced reviews of current theatre shows. We believe theatre is something truly magical and can be enjoyed by everyone.

Archive Television Musings

"To waste one second of one's life is a betrayal of one's self! I wonder what's on television?"

Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Loud Alien Noize

Revealing the True Origins of Silence

Pfeiffer Pfilms and Meg Movies

Blog titling at its best

Emily Baycroft

Currently a final year English student at the University of Cambridge. Producing Intern for Fuel Theatre July-October 2016. Aspiring Arts Administrator/Theatre Producer, blogging about my projects (mostly).

MTAS

West End Reviews | West End Challenges | Exclusive West End News

A Red Lip And A Nude Shoe

Dior Dreams On A Kmart Budget

is there room for me to sew?

Quilting, Reading and the Movies

The Case for Jeanette and Nelson

"Whaddya gonna do? I love her. I think she loves me." -Nelson Eddy on the Jack Parr Show, 1960

STARDUST AND SHADOWS

Opinions on Classic Hollywood , B Movies, Grindhouse, SF film , Classic Horror, Film Noir, Books, and related subjects by Canadian film guy TERRY SHERWOOD. (This site is not affiliated with author Charles Foster and his book Stardust and Shadows.)

The Wonderful World of Cinema

This blog is all about cinema, movies and stars of every decades. It's wonderful!

Movie classics

Thoughts on older movies, especially those from the 1930s to 1950s.

Hiss and Tell

Featuring Gryff, the angry diabetic cat, and the humans who serve him

TESSA BARRIE'S LOST BLOGS

LIFE'S TOO SHORT TO BE NICHE ...

[insert title here]

just one of many things i'm still trying to figure out

buchanblog

A trip down Memorex lane

The Phantom Frame

Information about the creative works of Gareth Preston

West End Blog

Bringing you independent, honest, experienced reviews of current theatre shows. We believe theatre is something truly magical and can be enjoyed by everyone.

Archive Television Musings

"To waste one second of one's life is a betrayal of one's self! I wonder what's on television?"

%d bloggers like this: