Young England

by Walter Reynolds
Directed by Ned Sherrin

Sunday 18 May 1986
Adelphi Theatre London

Produced by 'Action Against Aids' in support of the Terrence Higgins Trust and Research into Aids.



  • In 1986 Ned Sherrin was part of a group of theatricals brought together by John Schlesinger that would go on to form Action Against Aids, to raise money for the Terrence Higgins Trust. Looking for a first production, Sherrin suggested Young England, which had been a hit "for all the wrong reasons" in the 1930's, it had a large cast and ample opportunities for starry walk-ons and cameos.

    Sherrin brought together a stella cast of over seventy performers, and on the set of Me And My Girl, the performance took place on Sunday 18 May 1986 at the Adelphi Theatre London.

    The core cast included Ian Ogilvy, who Frank had worked with on the BBC TV production of Candide (1973). Ian writes about being in Young England in his excellent autobiography Once A Saint: An Actor's Memoir.



  • Julia Foster
    Royce Mills
    Gaye Brown . . . . . . . . . . Mrs Hawk
    David Firth
    Ian Ogilvy . . . . . . . . . Jabez Hawk Junior
    Patrick Ryecart . . . . . . . Hope Ravenscroft
    Anthony Hopkins . . . . . . . . Prologue
    Alan Bates . . . . . . . . . Disabled Soldier
    Millicent Martin . . . . . . . . . Salvation Army lass
    Miriam Karlin . . . . . . . . . . Irish policewoman
    Bonnie Langford . . . . . . . . . Guttersnipe
    Daniel Day Lewis . . . . . . . . . . . Guttersnipe
    Jane Asher . . . . . . . . . Second Salvation Army Lass
    Barry Cryer . . . . . . . . . .Ikey
    Harry Towb .. . . . . . . . lzzy
    John Hurt . . . . . . . .. Chinese Dope Pedlar
    Simon Callow . . . . . . . . . . Well-dressed Gentleman
    Doris Hare . . . . . . .. . A feeble old woman
    Nickolas Grace . . . . . . . . . . A Yorkshire Tyke and Tenderfoot Scout
    Marti Caine . . . . . . . . Low Comedy
    Felicity Kendal . . . . . . . .. A Lady Guider
    Maria Aitken . . . . . . . . First Guide
    Miriam Margolyes . . . . . . .. . Second Guide
    Judy Campbell . . . . . . . . Duchess of Troisent
    Nigel Hawthorne . . . . .. .. . Star Walk-down Compere
    Esther Rantzen . . . . . . . . Guider With A Fine Voice
    Victor Spinetti . . . . . . . . . Chief of Police
    Eileen Atkins . . . . . . . . . Girl Guide
    Jean Marsh . . . . . . . . Girl Guide
    Sarah Walker . . . . . . . . . Britannia
    Ronnie Barker . . . . . . . . John Bull
    Joss Ackland
    Derek Fowlds
    Amanda Redman
    Christopher Fairbank
    Frank Finlay
    Fenella Fielding
    Niall Buggy
    Geraldine Jameson
    Alec McCowen
    Gwen Watford
    Lindsay Anderson
    Geraldine James
    Christopher Cazenove
    James Bolan
    Jean Marsh
    Tim Curry
    Rupert Everrett
    Tom Hulce
    Elaine Page
    Roger Rees
    Prunella Scales
    Omar Sherif

  • Young England was a patriotic melodrama written by Walter Reynolds. It ran for 278 performances in the West End in 1934. The play attracted a cult following, transferring from the Victoria Palace Theatre to the Kingsway Theatre and then to Daly's Theatre.

    Reynolds was 83 at the time he wrote Young England, and was the owner of several theatres. It was popular with audiences due to its unintentional humour. The show was panned by critics; TIME magazine wrote that they had described it as "the worst show that had opened in London in 20 years". The Times described the play as a "pretty melodrama" that was "betrayed by shame-faced acting" in a September 1934 review, but by March of the following year noted that the "audience are definitely over-rehearsed" speaking the performers lines in "anticipation of their cues".