You Can't Win

1966 | United Kingdom

Granada Television adapted two novels by William Cooper to produce this seven-part drama series: Scenes From Provincial Life and Scenes From Married Life

The first book was covered in the first four episodes - set in a provincial town, between February and September 1939. The remaining episodes, based on the second book, were set in London, ten years later. Two characters appear in both books - Joe Lunn (played by Ian McShane in his first leading television role) and his friend and mentor Robert (John Humphrey). In Provincial Life Joe is a physics teacher and novelist and in the opening episodes of You Can't Win he is teaching at a provincial school where he does not really fit in. The clouds of war are hanging over Europe and he's thinking of emigrating to America. But there is always Myrtle, the girl who brightens his life. Except when she wants to marry him. 

In the last three episodes, Joe is ten years older and settled in London where he now works for the Government as a scientist with the job of recruiting other scientists, and he is still writing novels. His happy marriage is the focal point of his life and he derives from it the strength to meet each new obstacle he encounters. The series followed Joe's life and love affairs over the years, although each episode told a complete self-contained story. 

Published on February 13th, 2019. Written by Noel Onely for Television Heaven.