I Wanted to Be with You

by John Finch

Episode Number: 31
Director: Baz Taylor


NOTE: During the making of this episode, there was a trade union dispute,
which resulted in "I Wanted to Be with You" being produced in black and white.



Edwin Ashton   Colin Douglas
Jean Ashton   Shelagh Fraser
David Ashton   Colin Campbell
Margaret Porter   Lesley Nunnerley
John Porter   Ian Thompson
Philip Ashton   Keith Drinkel
Freda Ashton   Barbara Flynn
Sefton Briggs   John McKelvey
Grace Gould   Adrienne Corri
Ian Mackenzie   John Nettles
Mary Foster   Joan Heath
Captain Mack Dewar   John Higgins
Jan   Milos Kirek
Doctor Willy   Alick Hayes
A WAAF   Wendy Gerrard



The Ashton Home   Philip, enjoying being spoiled for the past three weeks, asks Margaret to push the little table closer, which she does until she realises that he wants to use it as a foot-rest.

She gives him the upholstered ottoman instead, explaining that the table was Robert's.

Philip cannot see any reason to keep the table if they are not going to use it, and he wryly suggests putting it in a glass case.

Margaret does not think that is a very nice thing to say, and she cautions Philip to be careful of his language around their mother.

Philip does not approve of his mother's going to church twice on Sundays, wondering if it will be séances next.

Jean comes into the living room, and, in answer to her question, Philip assures her that he will be on leave for quite some time yet.

Margaret reminds her that it is Philip's birthday tomorrow, Freda is coming home, and there will be a party, just like old times.

Later, Jean is going up the stairs when Edwin comes into the house, but she does not seem to hear him when he calls out her name.

Philip comes into the hallway, and both he and Edwin agree that the birthday party might do her some good.

The Bryant Home, London   David already is waiting inside when Grace Gould enters her house.

He explains that he knows where she hides the key for her brother, Peter.

They warmly embrace and kiss, which Grace says reminds her of Christmas, when David was last there.

The Ashton Home   John notices that Jean is going out, and when he tells her that Freda is home, Jean says in a confused manner, "Give her my love."

Margaret, Edwin, and Philip are in the living room, discussing the proposed welfare system of postwar Britain.

Freda needs to remove her stocking—in order to apply some soap and retard a run that has developed—so Philip goes over to the table to visit with his father.

Edwin speaks of J. B. Priestley's socialist Common Wealth Party, but Philip is skeptical of having a third party on the left.

When Edwin asks about his son's eyes, Philip responds that the doctors expect them to clear up, and then he would return to army duty—something he will not tell his mother until absolutely necessary.

Freda notices another run and is in the process of removing her stocking just as Ian Mackenzie and John come into the room, both of them embarrassed at seeing her unmentionables.

Ian, who has come to return an instruction notebook to Freda, is introduced to everyone, and he explains that he has been called "Front Legs" ever since the Christmas pantomime, when he played the front part of a horse to Freda's…er…rear end.

Jean's Childhood Home   As Jean nears the old Briggs home, she can see that it has been leveled by German bombs.

She explores the ruins, and it is painful to view, so she tells herself to pretend that it is not there.

But it is there, destroyed and heart-breaking, so she crouches in the corner of what used to be a room and weeps.

The Ashton Home   In the kitchen, Margaret teases Freda about her secret lover, the doctor.

Freda, however, indicates that there is nothing serious between Ian and her, explaining that he happens to live near-by, on the crescent, so he gives her a lift to the hospital from time to time.

She adds, "Mister Right will come along one day, I'm sure—only not too soon, I hope."

The Briggs Home   Hidden behind an imposing tome, The Laws of England, stands Sefton's private bottle of whisky, and he pours himself a drink.

In comes Mrs. Foster, serving tea, and she assumes that he does not want it and the glass of liquor too, but Sefton consents to drink both, so as not to hurt her feelings.

Mrs. Foster informs him that his sister came calling while he was out, and Jean said she would return tomorrow.

Sefton tells Mrs. Foster that Jean has visited their mother, though sometimes he wonders why, as there is never any change in her condition.

Life is peculiar, he says to his housekeeper—"You wait. You sit, and you wait."

The Bryant Home, London   David is smoking while he listens to Grace and an American officer, Captain Mack Dewar, engage in some good-natured small talk on the sofa.

The American tells David and Grace to just let him know if they need any supplies, as he can get anything they need from the PX, the post exchange.

Suddenly, Mack stands up to go, saying that he is supposed to meet a buddy of his at the Café de Paris.

Grace informs him that it is no longer in existence, and then she explains that so many businesses and homes were destroyed in the raids that people persist in referring to them as if they were still standing.

Mack presents Grace and David with a fifth of whisky, implying that there is plenty more where that came from, and David cannot help but feel impressed.

The American invites Grace and David to go somewhere with him tomorrow night, and Grace is pleased to accept his offer, though David had other ideas in mind.

The Ashton Home   Jean comes home, and Edwin meets her in the entry hall, wondering where she has been.

After telling him that she went to see Sefton, but he was not in, she excuses herself and goes upstairs to bed, leaving Edwin with a worried look on his face.

The next morning, Jean is in the kitchen when she informs her husband that she is going to see Sefton again, but she will be back before bedtime.

Meanwhile, in the living room, Freda is bored, complaining that there is nothing to do, and Doris is working days at the hospital.

John is studying, but that does not prevent Freda from talking to him, wondering aloud what it would be like to see Gone With the Wind with an American soldier.

Freda says that Clark Gable has joined up, and John quips, "Oh, so that's why the Germans have brought their reserves back from Stalingrad," but Freda is not listening.

"Oh, I think he's gorgeous," she says dreamily, and when John suggests that he is a bit old for her, Freda responds, "Oh, I don't know. I quite like older men, actually. Well, some of them."

John begins to ask her a very serious question about what happened while he was gone—back when they presumed he was dead—but just then Edwin comes into the room, thus sparing Freda the need to be subjected to such a difficult line of interrogation.

Edwin had forgotten about Philip's birthday party that day, but now he realises that Jean must be oblivious to the plans, as she indicated that she would be gone all day long.

The Briggs Home   Jean bursts into tears, explaining to her brother that suddenly, for some reason, she wanted her mother.

Sefton tries to comfort her, escorting Jean over to the sofa.

Jean expresses a desire to have Doctor Willy come see her, and, despite his attempts to discourage her from relying on the old doctor, she stubbornly insists.

She requests that Sefton not tell her family that she is ill because she no longer can put up with all that fussing, and he reluctantly agrees.

"You're a good man, Sefton," she says, to which Sefton responds, "No, I'm not. I know how to look after my own, though."

Mrs. Foster comes into the room with tea, but Jean wishes to go upstairs to look for some old photographs that her mother wants to see.

Sefton explains to his housekeeper that Jean wants to see old Willy because the Ashton doctor has gone into the army, and Jean does not like his successor.

He is worried about his sister because Jean seems very confused, talking about people they were at school with long ago.

The Bryant Home, London   David is trying on an ill-fitting tuxedo when Grace comes into the bedroom.

She tells David that it looks silly on him because he is "just not the urbane, sophisticated type—thank God."

Grace adds that she prefers him just the way he is, and they both agree that they feel like animals when they are alone together.

Though David would rather spend the evening with her, Grace reminds him that they have a social duty to perform, "entertaining one of our glorious Allies."

The Ashton Home   Edwin telephones his brother-in-law, and Sefton confirms that Jean is there.

She seems to have forgotten about Philip's party, says Edwin, and Sefton promises to remind her.

The Briggs Home   Jean is lying near-by, on the sofa, so Sefton must speak very softly or she is certain to hear that he is revealing his concerns for her health.

Both men agree that Jean has seemed a bit peaked lately and that they should watch her very closely.

Edwin finally remembers to tell Sefton that he is invited to the party as well, and Sefton promises to bring a little something with him.

When Mrs. Foster comes in to retrieve the tea tray, Sefton wonders if her brother, Harry Jenkins, might be able to supply a bottle of scotch for the occasion, but she flatly refuses to ask him.

Sefton has no choice but to pick up a bottle at the club, so he asks Mrs. Foster to have Doctor Willy ring him at the club and then wait for him to return home.

The Ashton Home   Edwin is looking through some memorabilia in the attic, while Philip and John are in the kitchen, mending and polishing their shoes.

Philip confesses that it upsets him to see his mother as she is, especially the way she ignores her own husband, as if he were not even there.

They both think the problem can be traced back to Robert's death, and Philip adds that his late brother's unseen presence has put quite a damper on his homecoming.

Freda comes in with the silverware, reminding Philip that she will not be at the party.

Philip asks when her boyfriend will be picking her up for work, and she objects to the use of that term of endearment, pretending that she will conk Philip on the head with John's shoe hammer.

Instead, she strikes him with an "empty" purse, which turns out to have some of John George's heavy toys in it, so Philip playfully chases Freda from the room.

Upstairs, Edwin is remembering happier times, when the sound of children's laughter filled the house, and Jean and he were so compatible.

The Briggs Home   Doctor Willy tells Jean that she is not getting any younger and that she has been under a considerable amount of strain.

He urges her not to be too concerned about getting confused, as it happens to everybody—even her brother.

The doctor demonstrates a mental lapse of his own by assuming that it was Philip whom he brought into the world thirty years ago, when actually it was David.

Doctor Willy leaves a prescription with Jean and lets himself out of the house.

Mrs. Foster volunteers to take the prescription to the chemist, so she helps Jean back onto the sofa.

"He was seven pounds, four ounces, David was," recalls Jean, and Mrs. Foster says, "And you worry about your memory."

But Jean suddenly becomes very emotional, tearfully contending, "He should never have married her!"

The Bryant Home, London   David pours some more whisky for Grace, and she declares that she enjoys getting sloshed in the afternoon because it reminds her of before the war.

That is when David begins to worry that her parents might show up, unannounced, from Wales, but Grace assures him that they would never come home without calling first.

David admires how impulsive she is, always taking chances, and he says he used to dream about meeting somebody like her.

Feeling sorry for himself, David suggests that he is just another chap to her, and Grace accuses him of becoming possessive again.

The doorbell rings, and Grace says that must be "the great American dream, our friend who's going to entertain us."

David asks her why he has come so early, and Grace explains that she told him to do so.

The Ashton Home   Philip is sitting in the living room, writing a letter to Gwyn Roberts, when Freda informs him that Sefton has given title of the house to Edwin, who assumed the mortgage.

Finding that a surprise, Philip asks her what else has happened while he was away, about which no one has bothered to tell him.

Unthinkingly, Freda bursts out, "Oh, nothing much, apart from Margaret and the baby and all that business with, uh…"

She tries to slip from the room, but Philip stops her from going and demands to know about this "other" baby.

Freda has no choice but to tell Philip about the chap Margaret met at a concert and the stillborn baby.

She explains that Margaret no longer sees the man, to which Philip responds, "Poor old Mags," and Freda adds, "Well, it's not been too bright for the rest of us, you know."

The Briggs Home   Sefton is pouring some scotch from his old bottle into the one he has just secured at the club when Mrs. Foster comes into the living room, but he is able to sneak it back onto the bookshelf.

She wonders where Jean is, and Sefton—realising that Doctor Willy already has come and gone—suggests that perhaps she went upstairs.

Mrs. Foster tells Sefton about the tablets, and he says he can take them to her when he goes to the Ashtons' for the birthday party.

Jean's Childhood Home   As Jean wanders through the bombed-out neighbourhood, she reminisces about Robert and says to him in her mind, "I wanted to be with you, to know how it was—not for you to be with strangers."

At one point, it seems so real to her that she repeats aloud, "I just wanted to be with you."

The Ashton Home   John, Margaret, Philip, and Freda are making preparations for the party, but Margaret's heart is not in it, contending that it will be more like a funeral tea.

Freda suggests that they cancel the party "because Mum will sit there throughout with a face like the Rock of Gibraltar, with Dad trying to look as if he'd won the Irish Sweeps."

She adds that the institution of marriage has caused all the problems in this family, and cynically she proclaims, "Well, heaven protect me from it."

Margaret says it is shocking to have a seemingly "perfect" thirty-year marriage break apart before their eyes, and Philip contends it is because of class differences.

John interjects that his parents were from the same class, and yet their marriage is not a particularly happy one.

Philip argues that working for Sefton has wounded Edwin's pride, though Margaret contends that Jean sides with him more often than with her own brother, something Philip denies is true.

That is when Philip ponders whether Jean ever doubts that she made the right choice in marrying Edwin Ashton—how her life would have been different, had she married somebody else.

This speculation strikes Margaret hard, as such doubts also have crossed her mind, even during the relatively brief course of her marriage to John Porter.

A London Dinner Club   Captain Mack Dewar is dancing with Grace (to the strains of "Chattanooga Choo-Choo") as David sits alone at their table.

When the dancers return, David is pensive, feeling resentful toward the light-hearted crowd that seems so blithely unaffected by the terrible war.

David buys another round of drinks—for which Mack insists on paying—and the American utters a German toast, explaining that his father was a Kraut and that he has two nice aunts who live in Hamburg.

When he asks David if he has flown over Hamburg, David replies, "Yeh, I've dropped bombs on Hamburg," and Mack remarks, "Some war, huh?"

Just then, one of Grace's old friends shows up, and she suggests that they continue the party at her flat—even inviting the entire room of revelers to join them there.

She departs with her Polish friend, Jan, leaving David and Mack to chat for a moment.

Mack says, "That is a certain kind of woman," and David responds, "Yeh, you're probably right."

The American apologises for pushing his nose in, upsetting their plans, but David says that is all right, seeing as how he is a long way from home.

Mack asks David if he is married, and David says yes, whereupon he poses the same question to the American, who answers, "Yeh. I miss her like hell."

The Ashton Home   John George begins crying upstairs, so John goes to bring him down.

Margaret asks Freda when "the elderly gentleman" will be picking her up, and Freda, playing along with the joke, replies, "Oh, about a half hour's time, in his wheelchair."

Freda goes to the kitchen to make sandwiches, though she herself will not be there for the birthday celebration.

The doorbell rings, and it is Ian Mackenzie, whom Margaret shows into the kitchen.

Freda explains that there will be a party, and she offers Ian a sandwich, which he gladly accepts.

As Freda persists in calling him "Mister Mackenzie," he proposes that "Ian" might be less formal.

Freda says she has gotten into the formality habit because of matron at the hospital, and Ian confesses that matron terrifies him as well.

The Bryant Home, London   A dozen or more servicemen are singing "Alouette" when trouble erupts across the room.

Grace's friend has picked a fight with David—who he thought slighted him at the dinner club—and Mack steps between them to halt the fisticuffs.

The party disperses, and David seems annoyed by Grace's fast crowd.

When she spitefully suggests that he ring his wife, David must explain that they do not possess a telephone.

"You see," he confesses, "underneath this nice cloth, I'm just a young, rough lad from Liverpool—only not so young these days."

He tells her that they are not in the same class, but Grace only says he made her mad because all he did throughout the evening was talk to Mack instead of paying attention to her.

The air-raid siren wails, so Grace turns out the light, over David's objections.

David tells Grace that he always liked the lights on when he was a child because the darkness frightened him, despite his mother's attempts to comfort him.

"You're not going to be any good for me in the end, are you, Grace?" he asks.

In an introspective moment, David recounts for Grace that his mother wanted him to become a doctor.

David also says that there is someone who keeps coming back to him for more, no matter how she is mistreated, just as he does to Grace.

He hopes that this "someone" does not think of him the same way that he now thinks of Grace—"because it's not nice, not the way I was brought up."

Unfazed by such profundity, Grace merely laughs, and they embrace, pursuing their hollow, meaningless relationship.

The Ashton Home   John comes into the living room and informs Margaret that he will be going back to work soon, so perhaps they could begin looking for a place to live.

He admits that there is something about this house that gets on his nerves, and Margaret indicates that she surely can understand that sentiment.

John professes to want things to be as they were before, and she assures him that is precisely what she wants too.

They are embracing when Sefton barges into the room, and Margaret tells him that Philip and Edwin went to the pub.

Margaret asks where her mother is, and Sefton is surprised to learn that she is not at home for the party.

Sefton presents the bottle of scotch to Margaret, who says, "I wonder where she is, then."

A worried look descends upon Sefton, now fearing for the very life of his sister.

Script Excerpt 1

Script Excerpt 2