The Buried Man

1963 | United Kingdom

Robert Bailey (Leonard Rossiter), a workman in his early forties in a Yorkshire industrial town, is dissatisfied with his job and has an emotional breakdown at work. His common-law wife, Madge (June Brown), unable to stand Robert's moods, leaves him, taking her small son with her. Robert goes into a local mental hospital as a voluntary patient. When he comes out he lives with his sister Joan (Charmian Eyre) and her husband, Bill (Stanley Meadows). They are uneasy and embarrassed by Robert because of his stay in the mental home. Though Bill offers to find him a new job, Robert becomes exasperated with the way his relations misunderstand him-and attempts suicide by throwing himself in a river. In fact, only his mother (Gwen Nelson-pictured with Leonard Rossiter) seems to understand Robert's inability to face life-until his former girlfriend, Vera Shaw (Nan Kerr), comes on the scene. Yet even they find Robert's "impulsive" ways difficult to comprehend. Robert tries to explain to them: "It's feeling there's summat grand, but you'll never have it, because you've gone wrong, some road."

Wakefield born David Mercer, author of the play, fills in the background: "Robert is alienated from his family. He thinks his work has no meaning. He is an ordinary working class Yorkshireman who, unlike those around him, is aware that life could be more beautiful. Because he is inarticulate, his family and workmates think he is a bit weak in the head." 

The Buried Man was David Mercer's first play for ITV. However, he was no stranger to television. Between 1961 and 1962 the BBC produced three plays by Mercer; Where the Difference Begins (1961), the anti-nuclear piece A Climate of Fear (1962) and A Suitable Case for Treatment (1962). As well as The Buried Man, Mercer wrote other plays sharing a concern for madness, including For Tea on Sunday (1963) and In Two Minds (1967) - the latter of which was remade as the feature film Family Life (1971). The Buried Man was broadcast on Tuesday 12 February 1963 under the Play of the Week strand and was an ATV Network Production. 

Published on March 16th, 2019. Written by Based on original TV Times article and adapted for Television Heaven.

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