A Choice of Coward is a British television anthology series. Noël Coward served as host, introducing productions of his plays, Blithe Spirit, Design for Living, The Vortex, and Present Laughter.
Produced by Granada Television, it premiered in August 1964 and ran one season.
An anthology series is a radio, television or book series that presents a different story and a different set of characters in each episode or season. These usually have a different cast each week, but several series in the past, such as Four Star Playhouse, employed a permanent troupe of character actors who would appear in a different drama each week. Some anthology series, such as Studio One, began on radio and then expanded to television.Blithe Spirit (play)
Blithe Spirit is a comic play by Noël Coward. The play concerns the socialite and novelist Charles Condomine, who invites the eccentric medium and clairvoyant, Madame Arcati, to his house to conduct a séance, hoping to gather material for his next book. The scheme backfires when he is haunted by the ghost of his annoying and temperamental first wife, Elvira, after the séance. Elvira makes continual attempts to disrupt Charles's marriage to his second wife, Ruth, who cannot see or hear the ghost.
The play was first seen in the West End in 1941, creating a new long-run record for non-musical British plays of 1,997 performances. It also did well on Broadway later that year, running for 657 performances. Coward adapted the play for film in 1945, starring Rex Harrison, and directed a musical adaptation, High Spirits, on Broadway in 1964. It was also adapted for television in the 1950s and 1960s and for radio. The play enjoyed several West End and Broadway revivals in the 1970s and 1980s and was revived again in London in 2004, 2011 and 2014. It returned to Broadway in February 2009.Edwin Apps
Edwin Apps (born in 14 May 1931) is an English television actor and writer. He appeared in many British and French television series and films, which include Whack-O!, I Thank a Fool, Danger Man, The Avengers, Steptoe and Son, My Wife Next Door, Special Branch, Katts and Dog, The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc, Vatel, Joséphine, ange gardien, 15 ans et demi and others. He created and co-wrote sitcom All Gas and Gaiters (1966–71) with his wife, actress Pauline Devaney.Hattie Jacques on stage, radio, screen and record
Hattie Jacques (; born Josephine Edwina Jaques; 1922–1980) was an English actress who appeared in many genres of light entertainment including radio, film, television and stage. Jacques's career spanned from 1939 until her death in 1980. She is best remembered for her appearances in fourteen Carry On films and for her professional partnership with Eric Sykes.In 1939 Jacques became involved in amateur dramatics, appearing as Doris Gow in Noël Coward's short play Fumed Oak. Five years later, after wartime service as a nurse and a welder, she made her professional theatrical debut at the Players' Theatre in the revue Late Joys, a performance that she repeated on television in 1946. From there she became a regular stage performer, appearing in variety shows and Victorian-style pantomimes.After her appearances on radio as Sophie Tuckshop alongside Tommy Handley in the final two series of his signature show It's That Man Again, Jacques came to national prominence. She later appeared on Educating Archie as Agatha Dinglebody, where she worked with Tony Hancock; in 1956 she joined Hancock in the cast of the BBC radio show Hancock's Half Hour, playing Griselda Pugh, Hancock's secretary. She made her film debut in an uncredited role in Green for Danger in 1946, before working in a number of minor roles in a series of Dickens adaptations. From 1958 to 1974 she appeared in fourteen Carry On films, where she was "usually cast as formidable hospital matrons (at least four) or man-devouring predators".Jacques had a long professional partnership with Eric Sykes, with whom she co-starred in two long-running television series, Sykes and a... and Sykes. The couple also produced an album and a single in 1962; a stage show followed between 1976 and 1979, A Hatful of Sykes. Jacques was married to the actor John Le Mesurier in November 1949, but their marriage was dissolved in 1965. Jacques died suddenly in October 1980 from heart failure.Joan Kemp-Welch
Joan Kemp-Welch (1906–1999) was a British stage and film actress, who later went on to become a television director. After making her stage debut in 1926 at the Q Theatre, Kemp-Welch made her film debut in 1933 and appeared in fifteen films over the next decade largely in supporting or minor roles. Occasionally she played more substantial parts as in Hard Steel and They Flew Alone (both 1942).
Post-Second World War, she moved into television working as both a producer and director of television films and episodes of television series. In 1959 she was one of the winners at the Society of Film and Television Arts Television Awards. She also won the Prix Italia for her TV version of Harold Pinter's The Lover in 1963; and in the same year was the first woman to receive the Desmond Davis BAFTA for creative work in television. In 1964 she directed A Midsummer Night's Dream for ITV's Play of the Week. The same year she directed four Noël Coward adaptations for A Choice of Coward. Other work included directing episodes of Upstairs, Downstairs and Armchair Theatre.Philip Bond (actor)
Philip George William Bond (1 November 1934 – 17 January 2017) was a British actor best known for playing Albert Frazer in 24 episodes of the 1970s BBC nautical drama The Onedin Line.