The Wednesday Play (1964–1970)
3 user 1 critic

The Vortex 

Young Nicky Lancaster must cope with the discovery that his socialite mother is a drug addict.


Philip Dudley


Noël Coward (as Noel Coward), Noël Coward (by) (as Noel Coward)

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Episode cast overview:
Margaret Leighton ... Florence Lancaster
Alan Melville Alan Melville ... Pawnie
Patrick Barr ... David Lancaster
Jennifer Daniel ... Helen Saville
Barry Justice ... Tom Veryan
Richard Warwick ... Nicky Lancaster
Felicity Gibson Felicity Gibson ... Bunty Mainwaring
Nancie Jackson Nancie Jackson ... Clara Hibbert
David McKail David McKail ... Bruce Fairlight
Patricia Mort Patricia Mort ... Preston


Young Nicky Lancaster must cope with the discovery that his socialite mother is a drug addict.

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Release Date:

10 December 1969 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Clara Hibbert: Thank you Helen, darling. I shall always come to you when I'm ill.
Helen Saville: That WILL be nice.
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User Reviews

Coming to terms with reality - story by N Coward
6 November 2008 | by ksf-2See all my reviews

Part of the Noel Coward collection on DVD, Vortex was originally a play, and a silent film from 1928, but the performance in this collection is from 1969 British TV. Margaret Leighton, Patrick Barr, and Richard Warwick star as the Lancaster family, attending a party. They must each face their demons as they force each other to come to terms and stop pretending to themselves and each other. This could easily be Coward's own story, or pretty much any of us. There are some cute, clever lines near the beginning, before things get brutal, but as it goes on, it gets more serious and dramatic. Alan Melville (Pawnie), Felicity Gibson (Bunty), and Jennifer Daniel (Helen) are the innocent bystanders here for the first act, but towards the end, mother and son must face their realities together without interference. Directed by Philip Dudley, who had directed British TV for twenty years. Good way to kill an hour, but hang on, its going to be a bumpy night.

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