The Hothouse

The Hothouse

1964 - United Kingdom

An ailing mango, two wives and an ambitious employee, all help to upset a youthful tycoon's weekend in the hothouse. 

Donald Churchill's third light-hearted comedy for Armchair Theatre in 1964 starred Harry H. Corbett and also saw the television debut of Diana Rigg (almost a year before she took on the role of Emma Peel in The Avengers). 

Corbett was no stranger to the series and in fact, had made a reputation for himself as a gifted and versatile actor, after a number of appearances on ITV's famous one-off play presentations throughout the 1950s. By the time he made this appearance he was a household name as Harold Steptoe in the hit BBC sitcom Steptoe and Son and this may account for the fact that this particular Armchair Theatre presentation, when broadcast, pulled in an all-time audience record of 8,260,000 homes. 

Churchill's previous two 1964 plays had been Sharp at Four and The Cherry on the Top, the latter of which starred his wife, Pauline Yates. This time round, the author took a lead role for himself. In The Hothouse he plays Gordon Parsley, the assistant manager of a supermarket, part of a chain owned by self-made millionaire Harry Fender (Corbett). Hoping to be promoted, Gordon's prospects look bright when, at the annual staff dance, Harry takes a shine to the ambitious employee's vivacious wife, Charlotte (Miranda Connell). On the other hand, the boss's interest in Charlotte could spell trouble. Especially when Harry's own wife, Anita (Rigg), decides to meddle in the situation. She brings matters to a head by inviting the young couple to spend a weekend at the Fenders' country cottage. This is the place with the hothouse - an enclosed and steamy jungle where Harry tends his precious mangoes and melons. Sooner or later, you can be sure, Charlotte will find herself alone with the boss in the hothouse-cast in the role of passion fruit! 

The Hothouse was a 60 minute play directed by Guy Verney and was an ABC production.   

Published on April 3rd, 2020. Written by Based on original TV Times article and adapted for Television Heaven.

Read Next...

Steptoe and Son

Sitcom about a father and son who are stuck in an eternal relationship.

Also starring Harry H Corbett

The Five Foot Nine Show

A one-off comedy show that reunited two of the regulars from That Was The Week That Was.

Also released in 1964


Any no-gooder underestimating the tweed-suited detective would do so at their own cost because Cluff's slow methodology belied a skilfully perceptive insight into human nature and behaviour, particularly in the criminal mind.

Also released in 1964


1960s comedy that was heavily influenced by the classic Will Hay comedy Where's That Fire? that had been shot twenty-five years earlier at the same Elstree studio.

Also released in 1964

All Summer Long

Willie has tried to make his father aware of the danger to their house from flood water, but Dad thinks that Willie's fears are excessive. Willie decides to spend all summer long building a wall to keep out the river, but his efforts are in vain.

Also tagged Single Play

Cathy Come Home

Harrowing drama of one family's downward spiral into poverty that sparked a national debate in the Houses of Parliament on the plight of the homeless.

Also tagged Single Play

The Browning Version

Schoolmaster Andrew Crocker-Harris is retiring because of ill-health, and Taplow, one of his pupils, brings him a present on the eve of his retirement in this Terence Rattigan play from 1966.

Also tagged Single Play

Diana Rigg

“She was a beautiful kind and generous human being that enhanced the lives of all that knew her as well as a great actress.”

Also starring Diana Rigg

The Avengers

Quintessentially the epitome of 60s cool, charm and fashion, The Avengers owes as much to British culture as British culture does to it

Also starring Diana Rigg