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Asmodée 1959


Producer: Harold Clayton

Writers: François Mauriac (play), Basil Bartlett (translation)

Rôle: Blaise Lebel

Broadcast: 9 June 1959 BBC


Synopsis: Marcelle de Barthas is young French widow, who since her husband’s death some seven years previously, has lived a secluded life in her country house, with her four children. The eldest one, Emmy, is a beautiful and pure young girl of seventeen, who tentatively believes she has a calling to the religious life. The second child, Bertrand, aged fifteen, has been sent to England for an exchange holiday with a young English boy, Harry Fanning, and when the play opens, the French children are excitedly awaiting his arrival. Also living with the family is a French governess, and a tutor, Blaise Lebel. Lebel has a sombre power over the family, and it is the ‘intrusion’ of Harry that sets in motion in him a wave of resentment and fear.

Comment: The first play of the celebrated French novelist had an outstanding success on BBC Television in 1953. It is a fascinating study of personal relationships and emotional conflicts within a family.

Availability: There is no record of this play existing in the BBC archives, so it is considered to be lost.

Asmodée poster
Asmodée review by Maurice Richardson in The Observer 14 June 1959
Asmodée review in The Guardian 10 June 1959
Asmodée review in The Times 10 June 1959
Asmodée review in the Coventry Evening Telegraph 9 June 1959
Asmodée review by Kenneth Young in The Daily Telegraph 10 June 1959

Joan Newton in the Catholic Herald 19 June 1959

"An entirely different, kind of youth appeared in Basil Bartlett's translation of Francois Mauriac's play Asmodée to which we saw on B.B.C. TV. She was a good, dutiful and very pious young girl of 17 who had, up to the beginning of the play intended being a nun.

The arrival of a young Englishman into her home during the summer holidays had a great influence on her and the rest of the family. There is no room here to describe the impact of this play on me but being French I felt it had an authenticity about it which made it a pleasure to watch.

Though the young girl decides she no longer has a vocation and is admirably backed up by her confessor (most realistically played by Ian Fleming) she still remains the good and pious girl, and it is her mother who suffers the most because of her own infatuation for the young man. Marius Goring superbly played the part of the rather sinister family tutor who, himself, is nursing a passion for the mother."

International Detective 1959-1961

Season 1 Episode 10: The Steibel Case


Producers: Gordon L.T. Scott, A. Edward Sutherland

Director: Jeremy Summers

Rôle: Ferdie Steibel

Broadcast: 27 February 1960 ABPC

Synopsis: A bank robber with a passion for Shakespeare is featured in this episode.


Background: Made by ABC Picture Corporation in the UK and shot at Elstree Studios, as well as a number of filmed locations around London, International Detective centred round the exploits of a law enforcement agency employee, Ken Franklin (played by Art Fleming).

Franklin is an agency man who likes to work coolly and methodically. His interest include fine wines, good food, chess and bridge. He is an all-round athlete who speaks several languages. Comparisons can perhaps be drawn to James Bond. However, unlike 007, Franklin seldom carries a gun. He is employed by the William J. Burns International Detective Agency - a real-life organisation founded in 1909 by a former director of the FBI and Secret Service Agent who has been dubbed as "America's Sherlock Holmes".

The agency handles private investigations into wanted criminals, suspected fraudsters, extortionists and all types of miscreants and ne'er-do-wells, which send their agents to any number of far flung international locations. Many employees, armed and uniformed, work in the security sector for the agency but so do a number of undercover operatives. Each story begins with Ken Franklin being given his latest assignment by William J. Burns himself, but like Charlie in Charlie's Angels, Burns is never seen.

Availability: Although some episodes from this series still exist and have been released on DVD, this particular episode is not currently believed to exist.

International Detective poster
Life of Adolf Hitler 1961

Life of Adolf Hitler 1961


Producer: Walter Koppel

Director: Paul Rotha

Writers: Paul Rotha (script), Helga Koppel & Robert Neumann (outline)

Rôle: Narrator

Broadcast: 1 September 1961 Real-Film GmbH Germany

Synopsis: Carefully chronicling in great detail the early years of Hitler's life and the events that shaped him into the zealous leader of Germany. This documentary offers a critical insight into the stealthy rise of the Nazi party and how its racist vision of the world slowly took hold in a disillusioned Germany.

Availability: DVD (Reel Vault) Release Date: 15 July 2015

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