The Other Side of the Hill

by James Brabazon and John Finch

Episode Number: 14
Director: Gerry Mill



Edwin Ashton   Colin Douglas
Jean Ashton   Shelagh Fraser
David Ashton   Colin Campbell
Sheila Ashton   Coral Atkins
Margaret Porter   Lesley Nunnerley
Freda Ashton   Barbara Flynn
Robert Ashton   David Dixon
Sefton Briggs   John McKelvey
Tony Briggs   Trevor Bowen
Dennis Pringle   Mark Dignam
Susan Reynolds   Rowena Cooper
Richard Norris   Peter Macann
Owen Thomas   Mark Edwards
Stan Bowmer   Alan O'Keefe
Alan Mills   Bill Dean




The opening sequence, with scenes taking place in the Ashton Home, is a reprise of the final portion of episode number 13, thus setting the stage for a new season of telecasts.

The Ashton Home   In the living room, the family listens to a radio message by King George VI.

Sefton comments that it is in the Atlantic that the war will be won or lost, and there are ships going down every day.

Hearing that, Jean becomes tearful and must leave the room.

Upstairs, in their bedroom, Edwin and Jean wonder aloud whether they would have been happier married to someone else.

Edwin reveals that when he saw his dad in the autumn, the old man said goodbye to him with the dismissive statement, "So you're a manager now, then," making Edwin feel disinherited.

Looking back on thirty years, Edwin confides that only reluctantly did he accept his father-in-law's offer of a job.

He reflects back, "It's not that you don't know that there's a hedge growing up around you, but one day you look and it's six-foot high."

Jean explains that she did not tell him about terms of the will because she did not want to cut into his pride any more.

Edwin confesses that he feels trapped in his job, with nothing much to show for the thirty years he invested in earning a living.

They did all they could for Robert, he says, but now that the war is on, his future is up to chance.

Jean then voices what they both had been thinking—that the children do not really need them anymore—and Edwin cannot reply.

Tony has taken Sefton home, but the others, except for Margaret, have gone for a walk.

Edwin joins Margaret in the kitchen, and she asks him how her mother is feeling.

Suddenly she breaks down, claiming that she cannot stand another year of this.

Having lost all hope, she sobs to her father, "I want somebody to tell me that John is dead."

The Works   Edwin tells Tony that Sefton comes around every other day, presumably because he does not trust Edwin's management of the works.

A few moments later, Edwin shocks Tony by revealing that he will be leaving Sefton's business and taking another job.

The Briggs Home   Sefton and his business competitor, Dennis Pringle, are drinking scotch when the subject of Edwin Ashton arises.

Sefton mentions that Edwin is doing a fine job as manager, though "he is not up to old Reg Clarke, of course."

Pringle says that his manager was called up last week, so he is in need of a replacement.

The Ashton Home   It is New Year's Eve, and Sheila arrives, informing her father-in-law that David has promised to telephone her at midnight.

In the living room, Freda cynically comments that she bets David is ringing out the old with a vengeance.

Freda apologises to Sheila, explaining that she is bored.

When the telephone rings, Freda answers it and quickly passes the receiver to Sheila.

Sheila, though, is disappointed to hear that the call actually is meant for Jean.

WVS Study Centre   David tries to telephone at that very moment, but of course the line is engaged.

He is partying with Susan Reynolds and his pal, Richard Norris.

The Ashton Home   Edwin, Sheila, and Margaret are listening to the sound of Big Ben striking twelve on the radio.

In the entry way, Jean hangs up the telephone after being informed by the nursing home matron in Bournemouth that they have taken her mother into hospital.

Sheila, who will be sleeping in the living room, says she remains hopeful that David still might ring.

WVS Study Centre   The New Year's Eve party is breaking up, but Susan has a difficult time convincing the inebriated David to leave.

When Richard tries to help, David berates him as being "proper" and a lover of poetry, much like his brother, Philip.

David complains that Susan is not interested in him because he is married, but Susan will not discuss it any further during these wee morning hours, asking him to come back that night when he is sober.

The Ashton Home   Edwin rushes out to catch the morning train, but he pauses long enough to open and read a letter to him from Pringle's, Printers of Distinction.

After he departs, Jean examines the empty envelope and wonders why Pringle would be writing to her husband.

The Briggs Home   Jean and Sefton discuss what should be done to care for their ailing mother.

Sefton asks if the Ashtons' marital spat has been resolved, but Jean's answer is evasive.

Then he remarks that Edwin seems content enough in his job these days.

Just as Jean is about to leave, to visit her mother in hospital, she reveals to Sefton that Edwin received a letter from Pringle's.

The Ashton Home   Freda informs Margaret that a reliable source saw her talking to a chap at the Philharmonic concert, an accusation that Margaret neither confirms nor denies.

Edwin arrives to say that Robert is in the hallway, embarrassed to be home on 48-hour leave when he was supposed to be at sea.

WVS Study Centre   David returns a book to Susan, whose reception for him is decidedly chilly.

He claims that she must be in love with the well-educated Richard, but she says that is not the case.

When David asks about their own friendship, Susan explains that it can go no further because he is a married man.

To convince her otherwise, David threatens to telephone Sheila and tell her their marriage is over, but Susan will not permit him to place the call.

The Ashton Home   Margaret asks her father if he contacted Pringle, and he wonders how she knew about that.

He shows concern when Margaret discloses that Jean paid a call to Sefton before leaving town to visit her mother.

Margaret asks her father if he will be sleeping in his own bedroom, now that Jean is away—a question that startles him until she explains that she needs to know for laundry purposes.

She remarks that it seems odd for her parents to have such a falling out after being married for so many years.

Edwin observes that sometimes even the people involved do not realise what has gone wrong in a faltering relationship.

He adds that the situation with Pringle is not just about money, but also self-respect, and that he will be meeting with Pringle tomorrow.

WVS Study Centre   David asks Susan whether she favors intellectual people like Richard and Philip.

She says it is David's attitude that makes their relationship untenable, alleging that he would be "back boozing with the lads" within six weeks.

He accepts that painful comment and begins to leave, but she stops him long enough to tell him not to visit her or write to her again.

The Ashton Home   Margaret and her father are in the living room, exchanging views on the war, when Freda and Robert return from the cinema.

Freda leaves the room, not wanting to discuss such serious issues, and soon it becomes obvious that Robert has no concept of the geopolitical scene.

The doorbell rings, and it is Sefton, presenting Edwin with a bottle of spirits, which he describes as a New Year's gift.

The Works   Sefton comes in search of Edwin, but pressman Alan Mills informs him that Edwin is not there, that he left for a couple of hours.

Pringle's Office   Dennis Pringle is awakened from his nap with news that Edwin Ashton has arrived for their meeting.

They greet one another, and Pringle tells Edwin that he favors punctuality and orderliness in his business life.

Both men acknowledge how much they admire Prime Minister Winston Churchill, agreeing that he is the right man in power for these challenging times.

Then Pringle gets to the point, asking whether Edwin is satisfied with his current position—serving as captain of Sefton Briggs's "paddle steamer."

He says he could offer Edwin "a pretty smart plant to manage" and at a substantial increase in salary.

Just as Edwin seems inclined to accept, Pringle mentions that management must look after the common working man's financial affairs.

The telephone rings, and it is Sefton on the line, causing Pringle to give Edwin a knowing wink.

The Ashton Home   Margaret is preparing sandwiches when Robert comes into the kitchen, asking her for ten bob to spend on the town that night.

He tells his sister that the ship he is on usually goes to West Africa to drop off cargo, so he probably will be gone for about three or four months.

Explaining that letters take a long while to arrive from that part of the world, he cautions her not to be worried if they do not hear from him for an extended period of time.

WVS Study Centre   Richard informs Susan that, contrary to her expressed wishes, David is in the reading room.

Sheila knocks on Susan's office door and, suitcase in hand, introduces herself to Susan and Richard.

Susan goes to tell David that his wife is there to see him.

David and Sheila greet each other, and David says he will try to find lodgings for her at The Turk's Head.

The Ashton Home   Margaret asks her father how the meeting with Pringle went.

He tells her that he felt shabby and deceitful when Pringle winked at him while talking to Sefton on the telephone.

Oddly enough, he says, he feels a sense of loyalty to his brother-in-law, so he was not quick to accept Pringle's tempting offer.

The Briggs Home   Over drinks and cigars, Sefton and Pringle are discussing ways of improving cooperation among competing firms during the war.

Sefton proposes a gentlemen's agreement not to poach personnel for the duration.

Pringle assures Sefton that he would be in support of such a proposal, provided it did not apply to the management level.

The Anderson Shelter   Robert, Freda, and Margaret are trying to get some rest during the raid, but it is too cold to sleep.

Robert tells Freda that being at sea during peacetime would have been more "fun."

Though Robert rejects her suspicions that he is scared, he can be seen flinching with every bomb that is heard to fall.

A Train Station   Jean arrives back in Liverpool, only to learn that she has missed Robert's two-day leave, and that his train is due to depart in a mere half hour.

Edwin tells Jean that he will wait for her in the cafeteria, so mother and son can have a visit in the few minutes that remain.

Robert and his mother sit on a bench for a short talk before he boards the train that will take him off to war.

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