Take It on Trust

by Roy Russell

Episode Number: 40
Director: Les Chatfield



Edwin Ashton   Colin Douglas
David Ashton   Colin Campbell
Freda Ashton   Barbara Flynn
John Porter   Ian Thompson
Margaret Porter   Lesley Nunnerley
Harry Porter   Patrick Troughton
Ian Mackenzie   John Nettles
Mrs. Mackenzie   Joyce Heron
Mary Ramsden   Liza Ross
Doris Jackson   Diana Davies
Bessie   Rita Howard
John George Porter   Paul Brett



The Hospital   Doris answers the telephone but defers to Freda in telling Ian Mackenzie that someone wishes to speak with him.

Back in the kitchen, Freda reveals to Doris that Ian plans to take her somewhere special tonight.

After his telephone conversation, Ian comes in to inform Freda that he will be tied up after work and will be unable to take her home.

Suspecting that Ian plans to propose marriage to Freda any day now, Doris theorises that it was the jeweler on the telephone, notifying Ian that the engagement ring he ordered is ready to be picked up.

The Mackenzie Home   Ian's first wife, Mary Ramsden, has reappeared from his past, but Mrs. Mackenzie extends to her a less-than-warm welcome.

She is glad to see her, Mrs. Mackenzie explains, if all Mary wants from Ian is some advice.

The Ashton Home   Margaret is in the living room with Harry Porter and John George, and she informs her father-in-law that she went to the doctor's office for some tests, to learn whether she is pregnant.

She comments that Harry looks tired or ill, but he assures her that he is just feeling a bit hot.

Edwin arrives home, and Margaret meets him in the hallway to let him know that Harry's physical condition appears worse than the last time they saw him.

When Edwin says hello to his brother-in-law in the living room, Harry tells him that Celia did not come with him because she had things to do.

Harry looks at Edwin's newspaper, which indicates that the flying bombs are producing nearly as many casualties in London as the blitz.

This news generates even more pessimism in the melancholy Harry, who wonders if he will live to see the end of the war.

John comes home from work, greets his father, and then expresses his distaste for the monotonous job he pursues each day at the Treasury Department.

As always, however, the presence of John George brightens his life and brings a smile to his face.

The Mackenzie Home   Mary sees Ian's automobile come to a stop outside the house, and she confesses to his mother that she does not want to upset Ian's arrangement.

"Don't worry," declares Mrs. Mackenzie. "He won't let you do that."

Ian enters the room, bids his former wife a chilly hello, and plants a perfunctory kiss on her cheek.

Speaking very candidly, Mary explains that her husband, Gilbert, has walked out on her, and she speculates that it must be her own fault, bemoaning the fact that "I don't seem to be able to keep a husband, do I?"

When Mary apologises for detaining him, Ian says that Freda will not mind waiting, but his mother politely reminds him that he does need to change clothes.

Mary asks Ian whether he has told Freda about their divorce, and he confirms that he has indeed, figuring that he would have to tell her sooner or later anyway.

Then Ian goes to change clothes, promising to give Mary whatever time remains.

Alone with her former mother-in-law, Mary wonders whether Ian's girlfriend is younger than she is, and Mrs. Mackenzie answers, "Oh, yes, quite a bit."

Mary says she envies the girl, adding wistfully, "It's awful how sometimes you have to lose something to find it."

The Ashton Home   Freda tells Harry goodbye, explaining that she cannot stay because she has a "heavy date."

Edwin asks Harry if he wishes he were that age again, but Harry answers no, that he was off to the trenches.

John remarks that the war took the best years of his father's life, and now this one has taken his.

He declares that this was a bad day at work, like they all are, because adding up rows of figures is so boring and soul-destroying.

"Lots of lads are going to feel like John, when they get back to normality," declares Edwin, and Harry notes, "Yes, and yet right now all that most of them want is just that—to get back."

In the kitchen, Margaret chides John for complaining about his job, observing that his father is in no state to listen to other people's grumbles.

Margaret suggests that John try evening classes again—that correspondence course—but John confides that he could not care less about the Institute of Treasurers and Accountants Examination, adding that he cannot stand the subject.

The Mackenzie Home   Mary begins to flirt with Ian, complimenting his dressy appearance by saying, “You’re looking much smarter these days,” but then Mrs. Mackenzie comes into the living room as self-appointed chaperone.

When Ian asks his ex-wife what time her train leaves tonight, she confesses that Gilbert accumulated so much debt that she no longer has a home.

Mrs. Mackenzie suggests that her brother, Wilfred, might assist her, but Mary explains that he was killed in Burma.

Mary requests that Ian see if he can locate a secretarial job for her in some hospital, though she has not worked in a couple of years.

Ian agrees to make some inquiries, but he cautions her that all of the hospitals about which he has any knowledge are bursting at the seams.

Before ringing Phillips, the secretary at his own hospital, he decides to telephone Freda.

The Ashton Home   The doorbell rings, and Doris drops in to give Freda some stockings—a gift from her current American boyfriend.

Margaret joins in their hallway chat until the telephone rings, and she tells Freda that Ian is on the line.

Ian tells Freda that he will be a bit late picking her up, so Freda decides to walk over to his house to save him some time and trouble.

She runs up the stairs, just as David arrives home on leave, looking angry and frustrated.

The Mackenzie Home   Against his mother's better judgment, Ian invites Mary to stay the night in the back room, as there is nowhere else that she can get accommodations at this time of day.

Freda has arrived on foot, and when she rings the doorbell, Mary urges Ian not to ask her inside—explaining that she may not understand why his ex-wife is in the house.

Through the curtains, Mary watches them drive away, and she remarks to Ian's mother, "She is young, isn't she?" to which Mrs. Mackenzie replies, "She's the best thing that could happen to him. Believe me, Mary."

Mary says she hopes Freda will not mind her being here, adding that perhaps Ian will not tell her.

The Ashton Home   David suggests that he and John drink a few pints at the local pub, and John agrees—after getting Margaret's permission, of course.

Edwin stays behind, sensing that Harry has something that he wishes to tell him.

Sure enough, Harry reveals to Edwin that he has desperate money problems—he cannot make ends meet, now that his clerking job in Chorley pays so much less than he was accustomed to earning in the munitions assembly division.

His mortgage payments have fallen behind, and his creditors are pressing him for "the best part of a hundred quid" in arrears.

Edwin says he would like to tide him over, but all of his savings are tied up in the printing works.

When Edwin suggests asking Sefton, Harry refuses that offer, not wishing to place Edwin in such an embarrassing position.

Harry laments that he feels weak and useless—not being able to run his own life—but Edwin insists that it is society which is weak and useless, putting him in that predicament.

A Restaurant   Ian asks Freda whether she has read the literature he gave her on the merits of a National Health Service, but she reminds him that he only gave her the material yesterday.

"We've got to make it happen," he proclaims, whereupon Freda quips, "Did you educate your wife too?"

The Ashton Home   Harry seems to have fainted on the sofa, so Edwin calls for Margaret to fetch some water for him.

Just as Harry regains consciousness, John and David return home from the pub.

John and Margaret help Harry upstairs to bed, which gives David an opportunity to complain to his father about the stilted attitude of his drinking partner for the evening.

All John can talk about is the future, wondering when his dreams will become a reality, and that is not what David wants to think about at the pub.

John returns to the living room, grumbling about his father's health and how the government has betrayed its war veterans.

"Look, John," says David, "some people get on better than others, you know. They always have done, and they always will. I intend to go after my share of the cake, I can tell you. You should go after yours."

Margaret comes back into the living room with the welcome news that Harry has fallen asleep and is breathing better.

John persists in talking about the conjectural future, but Edwin takes a more pragmatic approach, saying, "We'll see what's to be done…tomorrow."

A Restaurant   Ian confides to Freda that his former wife, Mary, "turned up" this afternoon.

Gilbert has left her, he explains, and now she is hoping that Ian can locate a job for her as a hospital secretary.

Freda notes that he met Mary in a hospital, too, but Ian quickly assures her that it is not history repeating itself.

Though Ian expresses a desire to help Mary, Freda is opposed to the idea, claiming that she treated him hatefully and yet wants him to run to her aid.

"Well, I'm glad you told me," she declares. "Better late than never, isn't it?"

In his own defence, Ian informs Freda that he did not wish to spoil their evening by allowing Mary's latest marital woes to become the topic of conversation.

Freda suspects that Mary was there when she arrived at his house, and yet Ian was not willing to introduce his ex-wife to her, preferring to keep her hidden away in secret.

When Freda persists in jealously scolding Ian for what she sees as his continued interest in Mary, Ian tells her, "Look, I think you're making a great deal of fuss about very little."

This comment hurts the sensitive Freda, who requests that Ian take her back to the nurses' home at once.

The Mackenzie Home   Wishing to have some time alone with Ian when he arrives back home, Mary tells his mother, "Don't let me keep you up," to which Mrs. Mackenzie responds that she does not stay up for Ian if he is going to be very late—but that should not be the case tonight.

Ian's Automobile   Ian is unable to fathom why Freda is making such an issue about his ex-wife.

He says they got married too young, they were not right for each other, and then along came Gilbert, at which time Mary desired to go their separate ways, and Ian agreed to the divorce.

He invites Freda to meet Mary and lay her fears to rest—if that is what it would take—because, as he puts it, "She's not a monster."

When Freda confronts him with the question, "She's staying the night, isn't she?" Ian responds, "Well, where do you suggest she sleeps, in the Mersey Tunnel?"

Freda, however, sees nothing funny in that comment and snaps, "Drop me back at the home, if you don't mind," and Ian has no choice but to comply.

The Mackenzie Home   It is getting quite late, so Mary urges Mrs. Mackenzie to go up to bed, stating that she has changed her mind and now wishes to meet Ian's girlfriend after all.

Before Mrs. Mackenzie goes upstairs, she tells Mary, "I hope things look better for you in the morning," whereupon Mary smiles at her and cheerfully responds, "Yes, so do I."

The Nurses' Home   Parked outside, Freda gives Ian an unceremonious "Goodnight, then" and begins to open the car door.

Ian stops her, and Freda appears to wonder what he is about to say in an effort to convince her to stay.

Instead of a romantic apology, however, all Ian can manage to tell her is, "Look, don't you think you're being just a little bit childish?"

When he asks if he will see her tomorrow, Freda replies that yes, she is scheduled to work in the morning—and she climbs out of the car, slamming the door behind her.

The Mackenzie Home   Ian comes into the living room and admits to Mary that his evening with Freda did not go as he had hoped it would.

Mary remarks that it feels strange to be together again, under the same roof.

She recalls their old late-night routine—she locked the front door, while he locked the back door and banked that temperamental boiler.

"It's a pity it took me so long to grow up," she muses, "because I think I have, at long last."

Ian does not take the bait, suggesting instead that they just see what can be done in the morning.

Mary thinks for a moment and then ventures, "May I bolt the front door as I go up?"

Ian looks directly at her and replies, "I already have. Goodnight, Mary."

As she is walking from the room, the telephone rings, and Mary answers it.

Presuming that the female voice belongs to Ian's mother, Freda tells her, "Hello, Mrs. Mack. Could I have a word with Ian, please?"

That is when she hears Mary say, "Mrs. Mackenzie's in bed.… Ian, love, it's for you."

Once she hears Ian's voice, Freda hangs up the receiver, leaving Ian to wonder who was on the line.

Mary explains that it was a woman's voice, adding that she will ring again if it was anything important.

Ian glances icily at his ex-wife and again says, "Goodnight, Mary."

Both Ian and Freda begin to ring the other, but then each of them thinks better of the idea.

The Hospital   Freda is very irritable but will not tell Doris what is bothering her.

When she is carrying a tray of drinks to the patients, Ian stops her in the hall, asks, "Nurse, have you a moment, please?" and hands Doris the tray.

Then Ian forcefully escorts Freda into the linen room for a private talk.

He insists that she is reading more into the situation than is really there, claiming that just because his ex-wife happened to answer the telephone should not make a difference.

Freda affirms that she trusts Ian implicitly, and yet she is very unhappy and quite unable to explain her feelings to him.

He takes her in his arms, kisses her warmly, and says, "That's the only way I can tell you how I feel. Now, the rest is up to you."

After Ian leaves the linen room, Freda returns to the kitchen, where Doris apologises for upsetting her by being so nosy.

"It wasn't your fault, Doris," she tells her. "It's me. It must be me."

The Ashton Home   John George is drawing a connect-the-dots picture with the kindly help of his grandfather, Harry Porter.

The boy joins his mother in the kitchen as his other grandfather arrives home and goes into the living room.

Edwin greets Harry, who is pleased to report that he is feeling much better today.

Then Edwin presents his brother-in-law with a generous loan—the money he and Jean were saving to buy a car before the war.

"I shall never be able to repay you," declares Harry, who quickly amends that unfortunate misstatement by adding, "What am I saying? Well, of course I shall be able to repay you as soon as I can. What a thing to say!"

Both men are laughing about it when John comes in and professes to have come close to telling Mr. Temple that he was quitting his job.

Harry goes to the kitchen to inform Margaret that he will not be staying for supper.

She has an announcement of her own—that the doctor's tests were positive—and she assures her father-in-law that she is happy with the result.

But Margaret admits to being fearful that John may see the news as merely another millstone, to go with that of his job at the Treasury Department.

The Mackenzie Home   Mrs. Mackenzie informs Mary that Freda is very unhappy that Ian's ex-wife is staying at his house.

Mary agrees to make it clear to Ian that she is not trying to regain his affections.

And yet, almost in the same breath, she confesses to her former mother-in-law that she "would have him back like a shot," something Mrs. Mackenzie says she realised the moment she opened the door to her.

The Ashton Home   David explains to his father and John that Sheila's solicitor is insisting that he provide evidence of adultery to establish a clear case for their divorce.

With an ironic laugh, David adds that the law will not accept a written confession, so maybe he will need to hire a prostitute and save his receipt.

When David grumbles that he probably will have Sheila's costs to pay, in addition to his own, Edwin tells him that is to be expected, in view of the fact that David is the guilty party.

David confronts his father, claiming that not once can he remember when he was ever on his side in this matter.

Even going back to that day when David informed his parents that Sheila was pregnant and he would have to marry her, Edwin judged David to be entirely at fault, not just half to blame.

Then David reveals something that he has never told his father—that Sheila had made up her mind to marry him, no matter what, and that she knew exactly what she was doing that night in Sefton Park.

In the kitchen, John remarks to Margaret that David's problems make their own marriage seem like Darby and Joan, to which Margaret quips, "We're not that ancient."

John embraces and kisses her, leading Margaret to comment, "Well, no need to ask if you're feeling better."

He apologises for growling around lately, but she says that she has begun to get used to it—that and her condition.

This curious statement takes John by surprise, so he asks Margaret if she is referring to her back pains, to which she answers no.

Finally, Margaret announces to him that she is pregnant, and John is very excited, envisioning a baby brother for John George.

"You men and your egos," she declares. "Why not a sister for a change?"

"Yes. Yes. All right, a sister," he says, beaming with delight at the prospect of another baby in the family.

The Mackenzie Home   Ian arrives home, and his mother informs him that the hospital telephoned and wants him to go away for three weeks.

She asks whether he was able to find a position for Mary, but he answers no, that his hospital's secretary tried all day long without success.

Maybe in a week or two something will turn up, but the secretary does not expect to find a position for her before then—if at all.

Mrs. Mackenzie states categorically that she does not want Mary to stay with them that long, to which Ian responds, "Well, where else can she go?"

That is when Mrs. Mackenzie speaks very frankly to her son, saying, "She came here to get you back. You know that, don't you?"

Ian says he does not believe that in the slightest, but his mother insists that all of his kindness and consideration is building up false hopes for Mary.

"Well, it's out of the question," declares Ian. "We all know that."

"Mary doesn't know it," contends his mother.

At that, Ian decides to spell it out for Mary in no uncertain terms, but as he begins to go upstairs to her room, the doorbell rings.

It is Freda at the door, and she wants to talk, so Ian invites her into the lounge, from which Mrs. Mackenzie makes a discreet exit.

Ian assures Freda that he will ask Mary to leave the house at once, insisting that there remains nothing intimate between them, something Freda now professes to accept as the truth.

Just then, Mary enters the room, and Ian formally introduces the young women to one another.

He is about to discuss with Mary the inconvenience of accommodating her for another week or two, but before he can finish what he has to say, Mary interrupts him.

She informs Ian that Pauline in Blackpool invited her some time ago to help out with the RAF boys who are training in the Winter Gardens, and she thinks she will give it a try.

Ostensibly pleased that this will solve the problem, Mary kisses Ian on the cheek and begins to walk out of the room.

Ever the gentleman, Ian tells her, "Oh, if it doesn't work out…" to which she responds, "I'm sure it will, but thanks anyway."

Mary says to Freda, "Goodbye," and then to both of them, "Good luck."

Alone at last, Freda expresses her resentment for the "soft spot" that Ian still seems to have for Mary.

"When you've been married to someone, and they go away, there's always something left behind," Ian explains. "People become a part of you for all time, whether you like it or not."

But Freda cannot understand Ian's open invitation for her to return yet again, adding that she cannot come to terms with being just one of the women in his life.

The reason Freda cannot accept it is because she is so young, he claims, an unfeeling remark that causes her to allege that he does not think she is sophisticated, mature, or understanding enough for him.

Ian discloses that last night he took Freda out to ask her to marry him, and she snaps, "Well, it's a good job you didn't then, isn't it?"

When Freda elaborates that he would have been stuck with someone else to feel sorry for, he accuses her of not being rational.

Freda takes this comment personally, claiming that being irrational is just another of her shortcomings—at least in his eyes.

Ian reveals that he will be going away tomorrow for three weeks, so they had better settle this problem here and now.

By now, though, Freda is far too indignant to consider Ian's point of view with any semblance of objectivity, so she snatches her purse and hurries out of the house.

Ian tries to stop her from leaving, but Freda runs tearfully down the driveway, the future of their relationship very much in question.

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