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Silver King, The (1963)

Courtesy of ITV Global Entertainment ltd

Main image of Silver King, The (1963)
For The Victorians, Granada Television for ITV, tx. 12/7/1963
60 minutes, black & white
DirectorHerbert Wise
ProducerPhilip Mackie
ScriptGerald Savory
Original PlayHenry Arthur Jones
 Henry Herman

Cast: Barrie Ingham (Geoffrey Ware); Charles Kay (Wilfred Denver); Michael Barrington (Sam Baxter); Geoffrey Bayldon (Captain Skinner); Patricia Garwood (Nelly Denver)

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Ten years after he was blamed for a murder he didn't commit, Wilfred Denver, having made his fortune in America, returns to clear his name.

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Rediscovered among a collection of British television drama material recovered from the US Library of Congress, the Granada Television series The Victorians was long thought lost. Happily all eight of the 50-minute dramas recorded by Granada in 1963 were found.

'The Silver King' was recorded almost entirely in Granada's studios in Manchester, except for one short exterior scene shot on Outside Broadcast video (an early example of the use of OB for drama recording which Granada pioneered). The seventh of eight episodes originally transmitted from May-July 1963, 'The Silver King' was written by Henry Arthur Jones and Henry Herman and directed by the veteran Granada director Herbert Wise, who later directed the BBC's I Claudius (1976).

The episode is intriguingly plotted and the framing of Wilfred Denver (Charles Kay) for the murder of Geoffrey Ware (Barrie Ingham), together with his subsequent disappearance and reappearance ten years later as the now wealthy 'silver king', is well-handled. The performances are excellent, especially that of Charles Kay (who 22 years later made a memorable appearance as Pendleton in Troy Kennedy Martin's Edge of Darkness, BBC, 1985) as the wrongly accused murderer whose lament following his fortuitous escape from the train crash after fleeing the scene of the crime - "Oh God put back thy universe and give me yesterday" - elevates his predicament to that of a Shakespearean tragic hero.

As an example of Granada's 'quality' period drama from the early 1960s, often presented within themed anthology series, many of them, like this one, produced by Philip Mackie, this episode of The Victorians is a valuable addition not only to the Granada catalogue but to the long and distinguished history of British television costume drama.

Les Cooke

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Video Clips
1. A murder (3:56)
2. A newspaper report (3:03)
3. 10 Years Later (3:50)
Mackie, Philip (1918-85)
Rediscovered TV Drama