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(TV Series)

(1978)

Plot Summary

  • A play concerning the rise of British fascism in the '60s and '70s Although it begins in India during the final moments of the Raj, it mainly deals with events around a picket by Asian factory workers in the fictional West Midlands borough of Taddley. In India bluff-but-agreeable Colonel Chandler, and the rather more hard-nosed Major Rolfe and Sergeant Turner - berate, to varying degrees, manservant Khera. Moving forward through the '60s to the present day, we see the various fortunes of these men on their return to England - the Colonel becomes Tory MP for Taddley, and on his death his nephew Peter Crosby is to stand for election in the same seat, his politics very much of the Heathite, progressive conservative school. Rolfe, meanwhile, his defeated rival for Tory candidacy, is far more to the right in his views, and feels both socialism and wet Toryism have betrayed the lower-middle classes. Both have dealings with mysterious banker Frank Kershaw. Turner, for his part, sets up a small antiques shop, which has to close when a (Jewish) businessman informs him a large conglomerate has bought up the entire street, to make way for a precinct. News of Enoch Powell's 'rivers of blood' speech filter through and the businessman sees the way clear for this cult to hide its symbolic trappings and come out of hiding. Finally, we see Khera, now a shop steward at the Baron Castings foundry, seeking an overtime ban for his predominantly Asian union members, and the first stirrings of industrial rebellion. Turner, bitter from his bad fortune, becomes chairman of local pressure group the Taddley Patriotic League. At a town hall meeting, he introduces Maxwell, now general secretary of the distinctly NF-like Nation Forward movement, who, after hearing the race-based grievances from middle class housewives and factory workers alike, makes a rousing 'whites unite' speech, and proposes Turner as a Nation Forward candidate for the bye-election. Crosby wins the bye-election by a thousand votes, with Turner coming a close third. In the closing scene, Turner and Cleaver woo merchant bankers for further funding - Kershaw, and Rolfe, whose company Turner suddenly recognises as the people who forced him out of business in the first place. Far from representing the voice of the dispossessed petit-bourgeois, Nation Forward is climbing into bed with the very corporations that are truly the cause of the "little man's" alienation. Turner seems shell-shocked, dispossessed as the play ends. A complex play with many things to say about the causes of and contradictions within organised fascism. A great cast is headed by Colin Jeavons, Nigel Hawthorne, Iain Cuthbertson and Saeed Jaffrey. What a shame this kind of TV drama gets shied away from these days.

    - Written by Epigraph55
  • A small town shopkeeper is conned into standing for an extreme right-wing party at a bye-election and later discovers his financed by the corporation that has dispossessed him of his business.

    - Written by Epigraph55

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