The Bed Sitting Room (1969) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • Set in post-nuclear-holocaust England, where a handful of bizarre characters struggle on with their lives in the ruins, amongst endless heaps of ash, piles of broken crockery and brick, muddy plains, and heaps of dentures and old boots. Patriotically singing "God Save Mrs. Ethel Shroake, Long Live Mrs. Ethel Shroake", they wander through this surrealistic landscape, forever being warned by the police to "keep moving", and prone to the occasional mutation into a parrot, cupboard, or even, yes, a bed sitting room with "No Wogs" scrawled in the grime on its windows. In particular, this story revolves around the odd "love story" of a girl who lives with her parents in one compartment of a London Underground train, the commuter in the next compartment, and the doctor they meet after returning above ground in search of a nurse for the heavily pregnant girl.

  • It's been three or four years since the end of WWIII, which in and of itself only lasted 2 minutes 28 seconds. The war included a nuclear bomb dropped on London, which turned the city into a wasteland. Most of the few surviving Londoners, who live among what little concrete remains and who may be affected physically and/or mentally by the nuclear fallout, try to live life like nothing extraordinary has happened to them or the world. They include: a BBC commentator who reports the news from each broken down television one at a time; Mrs. Ethel Shroake, a civilian who is next in line for the throne (hence the current lyrics for 'God Save Mrs. Ethel Shroake'); and Lord Fortnum of Alamein, who believes that he is turning into a bed sitting room for which he will have a very strict occupancy policy. The Frerdin family live solely underground on a still functioning subway train on the Circle Line. The Frerdin daughter, Penelope, is seventeen months pregnant, the unborn baby's father being a young man named Allan who lives on one of the commuter lines. Allan and the Frerdins decide they have no choice but to venture above ground to find any health care practitioner to deal with Penelope's pregnancy. Above ground, they don't know what the future holds for them.



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