Within These Walls: A Free Woman (ITV 1 Nov 1975, with Joan Hickson)

Within These Walls: A Free Woman (ITV 1 Nov 1975, with Joan Hickson)

In A Free Woman, middle aged prisoners May Leckwith and Edna Dewfall share a cell and spend their days gossiping, chit-chatting, knitting and doing embroidery. In fact the pair carry on as if they were not in prison at all. The relationship takes a turn for the worse when May, who is in prison for theft (which she claims was a bid to get away from her oversexed husband), discovers that Edna is in prison for the attempted murder of her husband.

The realisation that she is simply a convict the same as everybody else leads to a breakdown for May.

There is some wonderful dialogue between Edna and May at times veering straight into Alan Bennett territory. There are also some very nice scenes between Charles Radley and Mrs Armitage. The whole episode has quite the philosophical feel to it. It also features another typically strong performance from the underrated Margery Mason as May and Joan Hickson is just perfect as Edna.

production details
UK / ITV – London Weekend Television / 1×50 minute episode / Broadcast Saturday 1 November 1975 at 8.00pm

Writer: Julia Jones / Production Design: Bryan Bagge, Andrew Gardner / Director: John Gorrie

Googie Withers as Faye Boswell
Mona Bruce as Mrs Armitage
Jerome Willis as Charles Radley
Elaine Wells as Officer Spencer
Margery Mason as May Leckwith
Joan Hickson as Edna Dewfall
Sarah Thomas as Susan
Pamela Blackwood as Hazel
Rosalyn Elvin as Dora Wentworth
Raymond Adamson as Bill Boswell
Patricia Macrae as Officer Norris
Richard Steele as Mr Jackson
Maureen Asher as Girl in workshop

season 3, episode 9

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series crew details

  • Creator and Series Consultant: David Butler
    Theme Music: Denis King
    Executive Producer: Rex Firkin
    Producer: Jack Williams

production info

  • Release Date: 1974-1978
  • Country: UK | ITV – London Weekend Television
  • Language: English
  • Runtime: 72×50 minute episodes