BBC Play of the Month (1965–1983)
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The Little Minister 

In rural 1840's Scotland, Gavin Dishart arrives to become the new "little minister" of Thrums's Auld Licht church. He meets a mysterious young gypsy girl in the dens and to his horror ... See full summary »


Cedric Messina


J.M. Barrie (play)


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Helen Mirren ... Babbie
Ian Ogilvy ... Rev. Gavin Dishart
Peter Barkworth ... Earl of Rintoul
Bill Simpson Bill Simpson ... Rob Dow
Anne Kristen Anne Kristen ... Jean
Nicholas Jones ... Captain Halliwell
David Bailie ... Sergeant Davidson
John Moffatt ... Andrew Mealmaker
Robert James ... Snecky Hobart
Margaret Inglis Margaret Inglis ... Nanny Webster
Simon Lack Simon Lack ... Thomas Whamond
Michael McKevitt Michael McKevitt ... Joe Cruikshanks
Jonathan Scott Jonathan Scott ... Silva Tosh
Hilda Kriseman Hilda Kriseman ... Felice
Joseph McKenna Joseph McKenna ... Micah Dow


In rural 1840's Scotland, Gavin Dishart arrives to become the new "little minister" of Thrums's Auld Licht church. He meets a mysterious young gypsy girl in the dens and to his horror Babbie draws him into her escape from the soldiers after she incites a Luddite riot. But unknown to Gavin, Babbie is more than she seems. And they must overcome her secret, the villagers' fears of her, and worst of all, Gavin's devotion to his mother's sensibilities, before they can openly declare their love. Written by Kathy Li

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Release Date:

2 November 1975 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Version of The Little Minister (1913) See more »

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User Reviews

Perfect BBC Production
26 April 2010 | by bobliptonSee all my reviews

James Barrie is best remembered for writing PETER PAN, but he was a highly successful playwright with shows like 'The Admirable Crichton' and 'Quality Street' and this story of a Scottish minister with a flash temper in the time following the '45.

Ian Ogilvy is fine in the title role, but it is Helen Mirren as Babby -- the role played by Katherine Hepburn in the 1934 version -- that makes this special. Before this she was a promising young actress who played Shakespearean roles and was frequently miscast in pieces like Christopher Hampden's THE PHILANTHROPIST. Here she gets to play a strong-willed character -- and she was finally revealed as a star. She has spent the rest of her career elaborating on this type of character with enormous range and subtlety, but it's here where it is all revealed.

Kind attention should be paid to the uncredited camera department, which manages, by some good movement and lighting to disguise the static nature of the play. Treat yourself to a look.

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