The Intrigue

Studio 4 (TV Series)

Directed by Alan Bridges
Writer: Jacques Natanson (novel), Roger Smith (dramatised by)

Episode aired 12 February 1962

  • Pauline Yates . . . . . . . . . Maryse Destayac
    Anthony Bate . . . . . . . . . Serge Lauriere
    Frank Finlay . . . . . . . . . Fernand Destayac
    Leonard Rossiter . . . . . . . . . Gerard Moustier
    Marjorie Wilde . . . . . . . . . Card Player
    Philip Howard . . . . . . . . . Card Player
    Mary McMillen . . . . . . . . . Card Player
    Elaine Williams . . . . . . . . . Francoise
    John Slavid . . . . . . . . . Croupier
    Louis Haslar . . . . . . . . . Chef de partie (as Louis Hasler)
    Alfred Hoffman . . . . . . . . . Meyrouze
    Phyllis Montefiore . . . . . . . . . Yvonne
    Mark Brackenbury . . . . . . . . . Paul Saint-Alvire
    Alison Morris . . . . . . . . . Odile
    Leonard Fenton . . . . . . . . . Police Superintendent

    Pauline Yates is probably best known for playing Elizabeth Perrin in the BBC television sitcom The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin - opposite Leonard Rossiter.

    In real life Pauline was married to the actor/writer Donald Churchill. Pauline and Donald were close friends of Frank and they worked on several productions together; The Spare Tyres (1967), Always Something Hot (1962) and The Wild Affair (1963)

    • BROWSING in a second-hand bookshop just around the corner from Television Centre, Assistant Head of Drama Elwyn Jones picked up a tattered 1947 translation of a novel called The Intrigue, by Jacques Natanson. Impressed by what he read, he bought the book for a shilling and took it back to his office as a likely candidate for the Studio 4 series.

      Tonight, The Intrigue reaches your screen-dramatised by Roger Smith from the book by a French novelist and screenwriter whose ironic touch was evident in such memorable films as La Ronde and Le Plaisir.

      In Alan Bridges' production you will meet Serge Lauriere, the playboy-' an expert on women and love.' Serge is also a gambler, and when he is having a run of bad luck a wealthy businessman named Destayac offers him 200,000 francs to perform a mission of some delicacy.

      ' Do you know what a firebreak is? ' asks Destayac. ' When a heath or forest fire breaks out you light a second fire which creates a scorched space between the two and stops the fire from spreading. But of course the second fire is kept under control. Both fires stop . .. Well, love is a sort of fire.'

      And so Serge, on Destayac's instructions, sets out to make Destayac's wife sufficiently interested in him to cancel her plan Jo elope with her lover to Indo-China. For a man of his experience it is easy enough to light the ' second fire.' The problem : keeping it under control.

      Radio Times February 1962.

    • Frank, Anthony Bate and director Alan Bridges become close friends. They worked on many projects together. Anthony, known as Tony, worked with Frank in Les Misérables and Julius Caesar.

      In the early seventies, Frank, Alan and Tony planned to start their own film production company. They were looking for scripts to produce and a chance meeting between Frank and Ronald Harwood in London's Kings Road led to the development of a film version of Harwood's novel The Girl In Melanie Klein. The production company was officially formed and called Hugo Films, after the central character in the novel. All was going well until in Frank's words, "The big boys got hold of it, and screwed it up, so the film never got made".

      Meanwhile and unknown to Hugo Films, James Saunders had written a stage treatment, also based on the novel. The same 'big boys' that had taken over the film, brought out an injunction to stop the play being staged, as they were making a film version. So no play, and in the end, no film.

      Some years later after the injunction had run out, in April 1980, Questors Theatre in Ealing, a long established and successful amateur theatre, staged the play. Frank saw the production and at around the same time was approach by Michael Attenborough, recently appointed as Artistic Director at Watford Theatre, as to if he would be interested in appearing in anything. Melanie Klein was suggested and accepted.