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TV from 1969 at its best!, 2 August 2002

Spacious sets, a fine cast of British actors and the thumping good story make this drama a must-see. Margaret Tyzack shines as the disillusioned separated wife escaping from the Orient back to the safety of England. The suddenness of her newfound friendship and then his demise accompanies the full blooded young love between a young married wife and the ships' Doctor (Martin Jarvis). Maugham (author of the story this play is an adaptation of) manages to show the British class boundaries working to disunite people even at Christmas and in the face of wide-spread fear of the unknown. A more curious appearance is that of Peter Barkworth dressed up as a ballerina!

All in all, a superb adaptation - the only minor quibble being the slightly dodgy back projection that is used to show the sea behind the ship in places. However, the sumptuous location filming (Could it really just be stock? It fits so well!) really does more than make up for this minor technical drawback. Costumes and colonial lingo seem to be spot on, and there are many 'recognisable' faces lurking in the background.

If you like great British drama, stories set in the Colonial 1920s, Maugham's work, or (like me) that fine actress Tyzack; then this really is for you.