Carrington VC

1960 | United Kingdom

A popular officer is accused of taking money from his Battery safe. His defence rests of his wife's evidence - but will she consent to appear at the court-martial? 

Two stars of the same name - Richard Todd and Ann Todd - play husband and wife in Carrington, VC, in which Dorothy Tutin (appearing in her sixth TV play) also stars as the "other woman." The action of the play, written by Major-General Campbell Christie and his wife Dorothy, is the court-martial of Major Charles "Copper" Carrington, VC (Richard Todd). Jealousy over his war record underlies the accusations made against him by his senior officer, Colonel Henniker, played by Allan Cuthbertson, who created the role in the original stage production and also in the 1955 film version which starred David Niven in the lead. Dorothy Tutin is the WRAC officer, Captain Alison Graham, who gives evidence for Carrington.

Carrington, who won his VC at Dunkirk, is arrested for embezzling £125 from his unit's safe and entertaining a woman officer in his room, which was forbidden by the base commander (Henniker). Appearing as his own defence, Carrington's case at his court-martial is that he took the money openly and without secrecy because of all the back pay owed him. The Army Paymaster had failed to pay him back for various financial losses during postings in the Far East and his wife Valerie (Ann Todd) was pressuring him for money. She lives in another part of the country, has become ill as a result of the financial worries and has even threatened suicide. Carrington also claims that he told Henniker about his decision to remove the money. As for the incident in his room, it is established that Carrington was bed-ridden at the time as a result of his fall and that Graham was visiting him in order to discuss the matter of the embezzlement.

It is soon clear that Henniker resents Carrington's war record, achievements and popularity at the base. "Carrington's spoilt," he tells the court-martial. "Anything he wants he feels he has the right to. Carrington wants leave; he takes it. If he wants a woman in his quarters he ignores all orders against it. He was short of money so he helped himself from the battery safe." Carrington's main chance of acquittal mainly depends on the evidence of two women; his wife whom he loves, and Alison Graham, who is in love with him. Ann Todd said of Valerie Carrington: "It's obvious she is completely undependable. When I have to play a woman who behaves so outrageously, I try to discover the reasons for her conduct. I believe Valerie is afraid. She has had a mental breakdown and is still confused of facing up to life." Also appearing among the cast were Richard Briers, Hugh Manning, John Barron, Derek Waring and Bryan Pringle. Music was composed by Lambert Williamson and the play was produced by George Moore O'Ferrall. Shown Tuesday 26th January 1960 under ITV's Play of the Week strand. 

Published on March 19th, 2019. Adapted from original TV Times article 1960.

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