Three on a Gas Ring
ABC's Armchair Theatre (I.T.A.), 1959
Joanna Dunham, Alan Bates, Sheila Allen
Writer: David Osborn
Producer: Sidney Newman
Director: Philip Saville
Drama. A young single girl finds herself pregnant.
The play proved to be controversial and was not transmitted --
on decency grounds because the girl showed no remorse about the
condition she found herself in. (60 min) |||
Bates Beats the Jinx
DARK-HAIRED, dynamic Alan Bates is fast
becoming number one pin-up boy of British television -- in spite
of a double jinx on his career. Jinx number one: A Teddy boy
haircut which he had to wear for three years when he was typed
as a teenage terror. Jinx number two: He was banned from television.
Explanation? "Three on a Gas Ring," about love in Chelsea,
in which he had his biggest starring role was stated to be too
outspoken for family audiences and was the first play banned
Bad luck for Bates who, at twenty-three,
is fast proving himself among the brightest and handsomest actors
Since losing that Teddy boy cut for "The
Square Ring," in which he won points matched against George
Baker and Sean Connery, Bates's punchy style has been improving.
He won the coveted Clarence Derwent award
for the best supporting performance in the theatre in 1958. This
year he scored in "Incident" with Liz Fraser. And his
luck is getting better all the time.
Now he plays Laurence Olivier's son in "The
Entertainer" and screen stardom seems just around the corner.
E-Mail 16.iv.02 from Julian Grainger,
of the British Film Institute:
I HAVE BEEN enjoying your marvellous
website devoted to Alan Bates. ...I wanted to tell you something
that emerged from my meeting yesterday with television/film director
Philip Saville. He had mentioned having three episodes of ABC
Television's "Armchair Theatre" banned.
about "The Bandstand" with Donald Pleasence, but not
the others. He mentioned something called "Three on a Gas
Ring" as one of the other
banned titles. He told me that the plot was about three girlfriends
sharing a flat. One falls for rakish Alan Bates and becomes pregnant.
Bates is less than delighted and when the woman eventually has
the baby, she decides to bring it up with her other two flatmates
instead of him.
to Saville, he changed the script to make this less than conventional
ending and having been completed, it was banned (presumably for
being perceived as an assault on the idea of the nuclear family).
(which we have in our special collections) was written by David
Osborn ("Chase a Crooked Shadow", "Deadlier Than
the Male" et al.) and produced, naturally, by Sydney Newman.
It was made and completed in 1959 but never shown. Sadly we do
not have a print. |||
A note about Armchair Theatre:
Armchair Theatre came in several guises. Called simply
'Armchair Theatre', it played weekly on the network. In
the Midlands and the North, it was billed as 'ABC Armchair Theatre',
after its makers, the Associated-British Picture Corporation,
which also produced "The Avengers". As the plainer-named
'Armchair Theatre', it continued for many years under ABC's post-1968
London outlet, Thames.
The series, in any guise, was a different
drama with different actors every week, and was the most popular
ABC programme after 'The Avengers'.