Year:  1994

Movie / TV:   Performance - Message for Posterity


Others in the Cast:  Eric Porter, John Neville, Sophie Thompson, Abigail Cruttenden, Ronald Pickup, Stephen Moore, Manuel Harlan, Bruce Alexander, Ben Walden, Bev Willis, Steven Crossley, Brian Sewell, Annette Crosbie, Patrick Godfrey

Plot summary:  The BBC2 revival aired 29 October 1994, four-and-a-half months after writer Dennis Potter's death. Potter was inspired by an incident in the life of Sir Winston Churchill, whose portrait was commissioned by the House of Lords and the House of Commons on the occasion of Churchill's 80th birthday. Churchill hated the finished painting by Graham Sutherland (1903-1980), and it was never exhibited in public. A year later, Mrs. Churchill had the painting destroyed. Potter used this situation as a springboard for a drama symbolizing the power of the British Establishment to crush any challenge to its authority. In Potter's play, political radical James Player is commissioned by the House of Commons to paint Conservative statesman Sir David Browning. When the left-wing Player, who despises all that Browning represents, arrives at the former Prime Minister's country estate, the two have a confrontational clash of values and politics. - IMDB

Peth’s role:  3rd Committee Member

Reviews:  A Parliamentary committee  meets to decide on a fitting memorial to an ageing Conservative, wartime ex-Prime Minister, Sir David Browning. Its decision is to commission a portrait. Bizarrely, though, the artist they choose is an anarchic, anti-establishment and equally ageing James Player, who appears to stand for the very opposite values and positions to his prospective sitter. The two men find many opportunities to score political and social points off each other as the sittings develop. At one point, though, Browning appears to suffer a heart attack and to die. Rather than call for assistance, Player re-arranges the body and continues to paint. Browning eventually regains consciousness, much to Player's annoyance. After Player's exile, Browning and his daughter take delight in the ineluctable victory of their class and their establishment position over Player's attempt to subvert. - Full review here

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