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The Orchard Walls 

A bright young teenage girl is 'farmed out' to relatives in the rural West Country during the Battle of Britain and makes many astute observations about life there.


Gwennan Sage


Jacqueline Holborough (adaptation), Ruth Rendell (novel)


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Episode complete credited cast:
Honeysuckle Weeks ... Jenny
Marsha Fitzalan ... Clara
John McGlynn ... Daniel
Sylvia Syms ... Mrs. Thorn
Fiona Dolman ... Ella
Rupert Procter Rupert Procter ... Tom
Cherith Mellor Cherith Mellor ... Mrs. Leithman
Alexis Denisof ... Dennis
James Bree ... Vicar
Jon Glover ... Radio / Pathe News Announcer (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Joanna Jeffrees Joanna Jeffrees ... Mother at Station


During World War II a London teenager, Jenny, is sent to spend the summer in the countryside where she will be safe. Staying with relatives she has not seen since she was a young child is initially daunting, but they are basically a kind family and they treat her well. One of her uncles is serving in North Africa and his very pretty wife is clearly unhappy. As events unfold, Jenny learns that she is having an affair. Jenny herself is at a age where romance is important and she develops a crush on a recuperating RAF pilot. As these complex relationships develop, tragedy ensues. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery







Release Date:

31 December 1998 (UK) See more »

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Did You Know?


Jenny: [Last lines as narrator/protagonist] 'Children should be seen and not heard.' That's what Mrs. Thorn would say.
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References Gone with the Wind (1939) See more »

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User Reviews

A great character study.
7 November 2019 | by Sleepin_DragonSee all my reviews

Honeysuckle Weeks plays Jenny, who is sent to join family in the country to escape The Blitz.

It's a fantastic drama, I always thought it was longer, just about fifty minutes. It is particularly well produced, it looks great, and moves at a good pace.

You think of Ruth Rendell, you instantly think of murder mysteries, she did so much more then just that genre, this one of the finest examples. This is a drama, yes about crime, but about observation, longing and discovery.

Jenny is at a very important stage of her life, she's becoming a woman, and starting to develop interests and desires. She's impressionable, she's despised, and she's desired, you cannot fault Honeysuckle Weeks, it's a terrific performance.

Superb storytelling, beautifully realised. Someone please get this full set of Ruth Rendell dramas out on Blu-ray.

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