The Telescope

By R. C. Sherriff
Directed by Bryan Bailey.

The Guildford Theatre Company

May / June 1957

  • Mr. Pinnock, the retiring Vicar of Canbury ...... Frank Finlay
    Miss Brown, househeeper at the Vicarage ...... Marjorie Laine
    John Mayfield, the new Vicar ............... Edward Woodward
    Mary Mayfield, his wife ........................... Hilary Liddell
    Mrs. Palmer ...................................... Patsy Byrne
    Miss Fortescue ................................ Rosemary Towler
    Joe Palmer ............................................ Melvyn Hayes
    Ben Brooks .......................................... Raymond Mason
    Sergeant Wallis ................................. Roger Grainger


    Byan Bailey would be highly influential in the start of Frank's career - see: The Belgrade Coventry.

    In 1956 Bryan Bailey was General Manager of the Guildford Theatre. He heard The Telescope in sound radio's festival of R. C. Sherriff's work and approached the author, and as a result gave it it's stage premiere. The play was performed as part of a four week Repertory Festival, in which four companies took place; Canterbury, Hornchurch, Salisbury and of course Guildford. Each company taking place would perform for a week at their home venue and then for a week in each of the other three venues .

    In November 1957 the original cast presented the piece on television - The Telescope (TV).

    The story, set in Canbury, a fictious district of London's east End, tells the struggles of a young vicar, John Mayfield, who seeks to help the young people of the parish.

    The cast included some soon to be well known names - Edward Woodward, Melvyn Hayes (It Ain't Half Hot Mum), and Patsy Byrne ('Nursie' in Blackadder II).

    R. C. Sherriff was an English writer best known for his play Journey's End. He also wrote the screenplays for Goodbye, Mr Chips and The Dam Busters.