Gareth Davies


Terence Feely (adaptation), Henry James (story "The Bench of Desolation")


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Episode complete credited cast:
Eileen Atkins ... Kate Cookham
Michael Bryant ... Herbert Dodd
Bernard Lee ... Mr. Drury
Yvonne Antrobus Yvonne Antrobus ... Nan Drury
Robert Lister Robert Lister ... Doctor
Edward Dentith ... Capt. Roper


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Comedy | Drama | Romance





Release Date:

9 March 1975 (UK) See more »

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

a two hander tour de force
17 April 2010 | by didi-5See all my reviews

This adaptation of 'The Bench of Desolation' is really a showcase for Eileen Atkins and Michael Bryant and was the opening episode of the Henry James anthology series 'Affairs of the Heart'. Like others in the series it is titled after a major female character, in this case 'Kate' (Atkins).

She is first seen in a discussion with Cookham, the bookseller (Bryant), who wants to break off their engagement - Kate threatens breach of promise action and then proceeds to carry out her threat; but what's really behind it? And what secrets and lies will come to the fore on the bench where they meet many years later? Atkins is a powerful actress who portrays many of Kate's feelings from bitterness to despair; as such she is perfect casting; Bryant is also very effective in his role. Although there are others in this version - notably Bernard Lee as a friend of Bryant's - who are good; it is the two main actors who dominate this adaptation, and for the better.

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