Play for Today: Season 4, Episode 16

Penda's Fen (21 Mar. 1974)

TV Episode  -   -  Drama
8.0
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 90 users  
Reviews: 1 user | 5 critic

Through a series of real and imagined encounters with angels, demons, and England's pagan past, a pastor's son begins to question his religion and politics, and comes to terms with his sexuality.

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Title: Penda's Fen (21 Mar 1974)

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Spencer Banks ...
Stephen Franklin
John Atkinson ...
Reverend J. Franklin
Georgine Anderson ...
Mrs. Franklin
Ron Smerczak ...
Joel
Ian Hogg ...
Arne
Jennie Heslewood ...
Mrs. Arne
Graham Leaman ...
Sir Edward Elgar
Christopher Douglas ...
Honeybone
John Richmond ...
Headmaster
Ivor Roberts ...
Cooke
Joan Scott ...
The Lady
Ray Gatenby ...
Helena McCarthy ...
Mrs. Kings
Joyce Grundy ...
Mrs. Gisbourne
Frank Veasey ...
Council Workman
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Through a series of real and imagined encounters with angels, demons, and England's pagan past, a pastor's son begins to question his religion and politics, and comes to terms with his sexuality.

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Drama

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21 March 1974 (UK)  »

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1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Somewhat gruelling
23 April 2006 | by See all my reviews

I *loved* Artemis 81 but struggled a bit with Penda's Fen. Artemis risked charges of meretriciousness due to its risky combination of high and low brow culture, but was ultimately sincere. Rudkin is one of these individuals who appears to have a vocation or higher calling to the services of art, which is always nourishing to experience but there is a certain problem of drama with Penda, that is the conflict is largely metaphysical. It is concerned with moral questions and the ending with Penda pontificating on his throne may be overly portentous or even risible for some. Tarkovsky's 'Nostalgia', with the self immolation of the 'madman' on the statue of the horse, seemed to express similar sentiments to Rudkin, so perhaps it's a timeless theme amongst artists the world over. Not being an artist myself, I wouldn't presume to know. I do question whether corporate man is necessarily spiritually bankrupt. Maybe he or she goes to sleep with a Herman Hesse paperback tucked under the pillow, who would know? Maybe Penda.


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