Flesh and Blood
by John Finch
Episode Number: 38
Director: David Giles
|Tony Briggs||Trevor Bowen|
|Edwin Ashton||Colin Douglas|
|Sefton Briggs||John McKelvey|
|Dora Martin||Jean Kent|
|Teddy Martin||Richard Leech|
|Tim Bernard||Terrence Hardiman|
|A Naval Commander||Harry Beety|
|A Civilian Woman||Cynthia Michaelis|
|A Seaside Town||A clearly marked minefield is near-by as Tony playfully chases his sweetheart, a spirited girl named Barbara. |
Feeling amorous, Tony takes Barbara by the hand and leads her to a secluded spot, only to discover that another couple already is there with similar intentions.
Tony turns away in embarrassment, but Barbara wishes to have a peek, so she talks to the couple about the weather.
The man is a naval commander of about fifty, and his lover is only about five years younger than he.
Barbara confesses to Tony that she felt quite warm towards him because of his embarrassment at seeing the other couple in such a compromising position.
She says having the military there, training for the big event, has brought two months of excitement in a "long, grey war."
When Tony appears to be getting too serious about her, Barbara runs off, daring him to race her to the house.
|The Ashton Home||Sefton calls on Edwin, who asks if he has talked with Tony about getting his vote on selling the works. |
"His opinion, Edwin, his opinion," says Sefton, assuring his brother-in-law that the two will consult Tony together, not in secrecy.
Sefton is annoyed that his son never mentions the business in his letters, but Edwin states that perhaps Tony has other things on his mind—like the invasion of France.
Edwin offers Sefton a bite to eat, cautioning him that he will be at the mercy of his cooking.
|A Seaside Town||Tony and Barbara have been kissing passionately in a wooden shed when, being very practical, she suddenly declares that it is time they were off. |
Barbara explains that her love life has always been a long series of short-term relationships.
"You meet people, you get to know them, and then the war drags them away," she says, adding that someday the war will be over, and the loves will be forgotten.
Tony kisses her again, but Barbara is not responsive, careful not to become too serious.
He is confused and frustrated, snapping, "God, you're odd. Sometimes you behave like a prude, and then other times…"
"Sometimes like an abandoned woman," she suggests, and then she proceeds to threaten to prove that is exactly what she is by offering incontrovertible evidence.
Tony, though, is busy carving their initials in a wooden beam: "T. B. loves B. D."
Barbara thinks this is a sweet thing to do, but then she tells Tony to follow her, that she wants to show him something.
|The Martin Home/Pub||Landlord Teddy Martin and his wife, Dora, discuss the impending invasion of France, the possible presence of spies in their midst, and Barbara's latest love. |
Dora informs him that Barbara may bring "that naval fellow of hers" back to meet them.
Teddy does not approve of Barbara's ritual with suitors, claiming that it demeans her.
Outside, Barbara tells Tony that she wants him to meet Teddy and Dora Martin, whom she regards as her parents, in a way.
Before going in, Barbara cautions Tony to refrain from calling the war "boring" because the grieving Martins lost their son over Germany just six months ago.
Once inside, Barbara introduces her landlady to Tony, and then she excuses herself to go have a peek at little Stevie.
Dora explains to Tony that if he plans to bolt, now would be the time to do it—otherwise, Barbara will presume that he is seriously interested in her.
When Dora asks if Barbara has told him that she has a son, Tony replies that she has not even told him that she is married.
Dora says that is a typical assumption of their class, that you have to be married to have a son.
She goes on to describe the baby boy as "just the end product of what they call a wartime romance."
The girl's parents, she explains, are still in occupied Guernsey, from where Barbara was evacuated just before the Nazis invaded the Channel Islands.
Dora adds that Barbara has visions of returning to Guernsey with the child and a father.
Again, Dora implores Tony to go now if he plans to leave, but Tony stays, and Barbara comes into the room, carrying the baby in her arms.
|The Ashton Home||Over their meal, Sefton tells Edwin that he envies him because of his grandchildren, inasmuch as that is where immortality lies—not in religion. |
He says if he ever becomes a grandfather, it might be worthwhile to invest some money—his own money—in the works, but Edwin notes sourly, "It'll be somebody else's hard work."
|A Seaside Town||Barbara is very quiet, even though Tony remains loyal to her, despite being made aware of her secret. |
She assures him that he does not need to stay on her account, and Tony readily acknowledges this, stating that he could always back out later—but that is not his intention.
When she becomes aloof, Tony asks her, "Why don't you trust me?" to which she responds, "Trust? What's trust? I don't know anything about trust."
Tony pressures her into revealing the mystery of the father’s identity, and she reluctantly agrees, explaining that he worked at a bank in Paris before the war, he was Jewish…and he was married.
When the war came, he managed to get out of France, but his wife and children were unable to flee to safety.
She says he did not hear from his family until after the baby was born, and then his personality seemed to change completely, thinking not of her but only of his family in France and, of course, little Stevie.
He was deployed by the army to Italy, from where he still writes occasionally and sends some money to her.
|The Martin Home/Pub||Into the pub walks Tim Bernard, Stevie's biological father, and he quietly greets Dora and Teddy.|
|A Seaside Town||As they begin to make their way toward the Martins' home, Barbara takes Tony's hand, whereupon he slips them both into his coat pocket, much to her evident delight.|
|The Martin Home/Pub||Tim explains to Dora that the army brought him back from Italy to be a French interpreter on the second front in France. |
He tells her that he has great hopes of locating his family, to which Dora responds, "One of your families."
|A Seaside Town||Barbara discloses to Tony that Dora saw the naval commander, recognising the woman he was with as the wife of the local squire. |
When Barbara asks if Tony would be disappointed if she did not invite him inside, he says no, but an unmistakable sadness clouds his eyes.
She does, however, consent to see him tomorrow, and that restores his happiness—until she says, "Good night, young lover."
This remark annoys him, seeing it as her way of showing that she does not take his attentions very seriously.
"Now you're laughing at me," he pouts, and she responds with a smile, "No. No, I'm not, really. I never had a young lover before."
Barbara warmly kisses him goodnight, and they part, leaving Tony thoroughly confused as to where he stands with her.
|The Martin Home/Pub||Teddy walks over to Tim's table in the pub and glumly tells him that they have run out of beer, something he deplores because the boys deserve to have their share of relaxation. |
He ruminates that he wishes he were going overseas with the servicemen, declaring that he hopes they destroy the Germans, who took his and Dora's son away forever.
Just then, Barbara comes into the pub, and Tim walks over to greet her—but all he says, beyond uttering her name, is, "I came to see the boy."
|The Ashton Home||As they wash and dry the dishes, Sefton reveals to Edwin that he knows where Tony is stationed, having learned the location from a Chamber of Commerce member whose son Tony had mentioned seeing at the training site. |
Sefton asks for a map, so Edwin consults Philip's old school atlas, with which he has been following the progress of the war.
Edwin tells Sefton that the arrows on the map represent his pincer movement, designed to annihilate the enemy in two weeks flat.
Sefton has his own proposed landing spot, and the two armchair generals compare their lofty plans.
|The Martin Home/Pub||Teddy comes into the room in his pajamas, not afraid that Barbara might see him like that, suggesting that it might show her what it is all about—marriage for the long term. |
The couple speculate over who will win Barbara's hand in marriage, Tim or Tony, and Teddy's money is on Tim Bernard because, he says, "It's the kids that hold a marriage together, in the long run, and that means your own flesh and blood, not somebody else's."
|A Seaside Town||Tim promises to see the boy as often as possible and, of course, to continue to send money to Barbara, as that is her legal right. |
This offends Barbara's sensibilities, as it sounds so impersonal and cold, but Tim frankly states that returning to France is what he has been waiting for all this time.
Barbara tells him of a friend, who is anxious to see some action, and she informs Tim that she might marry this boy someday—if he asks her.
|The Martin Home/Pub||Tony asks the Martins if Barbara is in, and Dora tells him that she has gone for a walk. |
When Tony leaves, saying he knows where she usually goes, Teddy quips to his wife, "Well, the kiddie hasn't put him off. We'll see how he reacts to the father."
|A Seaside Town|| |
Tim tells Barbara that he may see her again before his unit ships out, and he emphasises that he wants to see her as well, and not just the boy.
Tony, too, is struck by flying shrapnel, and he falls to the ground.
|The Martin Home/Pub||Days have passed, and the pub is nearly devoid of customers, most of the servicemen having been shipped out for the invasion of France. |
Teddy listens solemnly to a radio newscast with early reports of the landings at Normandy, and he laments to his wife that in a couple of years the pub will be out of business, with nothing remaining but a few lumps of concrete in the sand.
Sefton and Edwin come in to register for their room, and the Martins tell them that Tony's injury from the detonation was only a flesh wound.
|A Hospital||In his ward, Tony and Barbara now are two solitary figures, but soon the place is sure to be receiving many casualties from the fierce fighting in northern France. |
Tony tells her that he will be leaving his hospital bed in a couple of days, with the aid of his walking stick.
He grumbles, "I shall be able to stooge around with my little stick like a wounded, bloody hero," to which Barbara responds, "Now, don't get a chip about it. It wasn't exactly cowardly, what you did."
Barbara informs him that she attended the funeral of the naval commander and his lover because she felt that she knew them, in a way.
While there, she saw the woman's husband and also another woman, whom she took to be the officer's wife.
When Tony chides Barbara for taking so long in coming to visit him in hospital, she cautions him not to make himself vulnerable, so quixotic about her dilemma.
She does not want him to regard her as a “poor, friendless little thing in a cold, hard world,” but Tony insists that he wants to look after her and Stevie—in essence, offering his hand in marriage.
Barbara appreciates his willingness to be a provider, but she sees no future between them, as she wishes to return to Guernsey with her baby.
She reveals that Tony's father is coming to see him—something she learned upon answering his telephone call in the pub—and Tony is furious at news of this personal intrusion.
|The Martin Home/Pub||Edwin and Sefton complain to each other about having to share a bed for the night, and Edwin suggests that Sefton is welcome to use the armchair, if he so desires.|
|A Hospital||The first casualties are arriving, so Barbara must leave, but Tony reminds her that she has not yet answered his proposal of marriage. |
Explaining that she is a bit tired and worried, she responds, "I might say what you want me to say for the wrong reasons."
She gives him some rationed sweets and a kiss, and then she departs, promising to come back again tomorrow…perhaps.
|The Martin Home/Pub||Lying in bed, Sefton informs Edwin that visiting hours are sometime in the afternoon, so the landlord will arrange for a taxi to transport them to the hospital, a distance of three miles. |
Sefton discloses that Tony has a new girlfriend, adding that he regrets that Tony did not marry Jenny, who would have made him a good wife.
Edwin wishes they could just see Tony and not discuss the printing works with him, asking Sefton the rhetorical question, "Does it always have to be business?"
Sefton resents the implication, but Edwin declares, "I think you sometimes get your priorities wrong."
|A Hospital||Tony is lying awake in his bed, struggling with worries about Barbara and Stevie.|
|The Martin Home/Pub||Sefton is fast asleep, snoring lightly, but a wakeful Edwin is sitting up in bed, smoking a cigarette. |
Later that morning, Barbara leaves her son with Dora, who volunteers to take him to the surgeon's for his medical examination.
Barbara begins to go into the pub to meet—as Dora puts it—her "prospect's father."
On second thought, Barbara decides to take Stevie with her to meet Mr. Briggs.
Meanwhile, Edwin has come into the pub, disturbing Sefton's tranquil breakfast by announcing that he wants to call off the visit with Tony.
When Sefton asks why he even bothered to come along, Edwin snaps, "After thirty years of doing what you're told, it becomes a habit. You talked me into it."
Edwin is leaving just as Barbara enters the pub, carrying her baby, and she apologises to Sefton for mixing up the room reservation.
She identifies herself as Tony's friend, causing Sefton to wonder aloud, "And whose little chap is that, then?" to which Barbara casually replies, "Oh, he's mine."
|A Hospital||Sefton persists in advising his son to begin thinking about his future, even though Tony informs him that he will not be discharged from the service because of such a minor injury as this scratch on the leg. |
Tony suspects that his father has more on his mind than just a compassionate social call, so he wonders who came with him from Liverpool.
Sefton is surprised by the question until Tony explains that Barbara booked a double room for him, which Sefton rightfully attributes to an honest misunderstanding.
He assures Tony that Barbara is very pleasant indeed, though "not the same as Jenny, of course."
Tony shocks his father by confiding that he plans to ask Barbara to marry him.
Sefton naturally presumes that the young lady's husband was killed in the war, but Tony concedes that she is not married.
"And you'd take on some other man's bastard?" wonders Sefton in sheer disbelief.
He accuses his son of trying to be noble, but Tony declares to him that his motives are purely selfish.
Tony tells his father that he expected just such a response, being aware of his feelings toward the sanctity of a blood relationship.
When Sefton considers that Tony would have to settle down with his "ready-made family," he begins to see it as a possible blessing in disguise.
Tony suspects that he will be getting a recuperative leave soon, so Sefton agrees to discuss his future at that time.
"No need to talk about it now," says Sefton. "I didn't come all this way just to talk business, did I?" whereupon Tony responds with a caustic, "Didn’t you?"
That is when Sefton decides to reveal that he wishes to sell the works, but Tony frustrates him by refusing to discuss it until war's end.
Though Sefton advises him to begin considering his future—now that he is going to take on a family—Tony reminds him that Barbara has not consented to have him as her husband.
Sefton sees this as a mere formality, contending, "Oh, she'll have you all right. A girl in that sort of trouble, getting her hands on a lad with your prospects? She'll have you all right."
|A Seaside Town||Barbara tells Tony no, that their marriage would not succeed because she is living in the past, and he would have to be waiting for her to let it go. |
She explains that she feels compelled to wait for Tim, to see if there is the smallest hope that he will return to her.
Tony declares that he will wait too, but Barbara says she wants Stevie's father to be his own flesh and blood.
"It doesn't count. It doesn't mean anything," contends Tony, but she says, "Well, it does to me."
When Tony says it can be worse than nothing, she responds, "Worse than being second best?"
This comment hurts Tony's feelings, and she apologises for being so frank.
"If he hadn't come back…" she muses. "But he did. And those two people walked into the minefields."
Tony tells her that his father could not comprehend that she might turn down his marriage proposal.
But you go on being his son, she says, and it is a simple fact of life—"When there's no one else, there's always your own flesh and blood."
Barbara turns away and walks out of Tony's life, to remain but a bittersweet memory of what might have been.
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