Pretty Polly

1966 | United Kingdom

Kicking off a new season of ABC Armchair Theatre on 23 July 1966 was William Marchant's television adaptation of Noel Coward's short story Pretty Polly Barlow starring Lynn Redgrave as an ugly duckling who only later turns into a most possessing young swan. 

Redgrave shackled her natural charms to start off the play as a very plain girl indeed. This is when she sets off on a cruise as a much bullied companion to her rich and obnoxious aunt (Dandy Nichols). 

Her aunt's untimely death in Singapore, however, releases Polly, and with great presence of mind in the circumstances, she pockets her aunt's jewels and ready cash and starts to have the time of her life. 

With the help of Singaporean travel courier Amaz (Zia Mohyeddin), she begins the transformation by exchanging her spectacles for lenses. The result is spectacular - as confirmed by her immoral Uncle Bob (Donald Houston) who joins her for the funeral from his up-country plantation. 

The following year the story was transferred to the big screen (also sub-titled A Matter of Innocence) starring Hayley Mills in the title role with Trevor Howard as the uncle. 

The story editor on the TV production was Terence Feely, Leonard White produced and the director was Bill Bain. This was an ABC Weekend Network Production.    

Published on April 4th, 2020. Based on original TV Times article and adapted.