‘Waters of the Moon’ – a 1952 Stage Play

In 1983 we were lucky to have a Television version of N C Hunter’s classic English play ‘Waters of the Moon’ – a production which is full of traditional English characters living at a small Devon Hotel in 1950 – and living their own routine way – which seemed to suit them – until a family descends on the hotel. Their car has been stranded in a snow drift nearby, and their arrival seems to upset the life structure the hotel residents have – for a short time

I do have a CD copy of the Radio Play which starred Marjorie Westbury in a play she herself chose to mark her 50 years in BBC Radio Drama.

Also in the cast were Mary Wimbush, Patricia Hayes and Martin Jarvisher friends in everyday life

I must admit that Mary Wimbush is one of my favourite radio actors – her distinctive voice tends to add a quality to whatever production she is in

One Review about Marjorie Westbury in the famous play:

It was a joy to hear Marjorie Westbury in Waters of the Moon, in the Edith Evans part. She celebrated her jubilee in style, projecting glamour and sophistication (as, long ago, she did for Steve in PAUL TEMPLE). The New Year Party was admirably done – there was a real sense of a group of diverse people interacting, in Graham Gauld’s production


Two of the co-stars of the 1983 TV production were Carry On actors – Joan Sims and Dilys Laye. As well as being wonderful actresses and veteran Carry On characters, Joan and Dilys were also the best of friends. They had been friends right from the early days of revue in the 1950s and it was a friendship that endured right up until Joan’s death in 2001. 

I think both Joan and Dilys were extremely talented and to a certain extent, undervalued performers. Both were successful actors, beloved by fans and their peers but they were never true stars as we would know them.

Anyway, back to ‘Waters of the Moon’ – if you fancy an interesting diversion, check out this television play. It also stars Penelope Keith, Virginia McKenna, Ronald Pickup and Lesley Dunlop. Quite a cast. So sit back and enjoy!

Somewhere I have a Video copy of this version and I am frantically looking through my mountain of old VHS Tapes to try to find it – up to now with no success

It started as a stage play in the West End of London, where it ran successfully for two years or so on its first run

The 1983 Television Production with Penelope Keith and Ronald Pickup is a very handsome production of this N.C. Hunter play and has several excellent performances to recommend it.

A drawing-room drama starts out and sets the scene, by establishing the lives of a group of people in a residential hotel in the Devonshire countryside. The four residents form an ill matched crowd but they have lived alongside one another for a few years and got used to each others ways. There’s the retired colonel (Richard Vernon) who sleeps away his life when he’s not shooting birds. There’s a displaced Austrian (Ronald Pickup), and two women at opposite ends of the pole: Mrs. Whyte (Virginia McKenna), a brittle upper-class woman who’s lost her money, and Mrs. Ashmore (Joan Sims), a cheerful working-class type. The hotel is run by the dour Mrs. Daly (Dilys Laye) and her adult son who is ‘sickly’ possibly has had TB but that is never said.

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