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1 December 1970: Menace: Season 1, Episode 10: Nine Bean Rows

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Dec. 1st, 1970 | 09:00 pm

Menace was a series of twenty-three thrillers, each lasting 75 minutes, broadcast on Tuesday evenings.

The title of the episode in which Michael Gothard appears as Pip, “Nine Bean Rows”, is a quotation from a poem by WB Yeats, “The Lake Isle of Innisfree.”

'I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee …'

The episode was broadcast on BBC2, at 9:20 pm on Tuesday 1 December 1970.

Radio Times plot introduction

In the house near the Irish border the atmosphere is already tense with fear. An unexpected arrival makes a crisis inevitable.


Exerpt from an interview with Jordan Lawrence, the creative force behind Menace.

“I'd say ten out of the thirteen are positive winners - but it might prejudice the viewers if I told them which ones. But the best? They're each so different. Apart from the theme of menace running through all of them - and the fact that they're all modern, and set somewhere in the United Kingdom - you just can't compare them.

Thirteen writers wrote them, eleven different directors plumped for whichever ones appealed to him or her. So each has a unique personality stamped all over it. But if you insist, well, I think I'd choose ‘Nine Bean Rows’ by Hugo Charteris. That, and ‘Killing Time.’

‘Bean Rows’ isn't due till December - but believe me, it's an absolute bomb. About a murder in an Irish stately home. With Constance Cummings, who's super …"

Plot synopsis:

Herky (Peter Blythe), ten years a mercenary in Africa, arrives at his mother's home in Ulster. She has remarried and Herky suspects that her new husband, Mick, has misused the money held in trust for his younger brother Pip and himself. He delivers an ultimatum: either he gets his money at once or he kills Mick. Can Mick and Pip deal with Herky before he carries out his threat?

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Review of the series by Matthew Lee, 2004

Jordan Lawrence was the creative force behind Menace, a series of twenty-three plays running to seventy-five-minutes which found their basis in the aspects, perceptions and representations of menace in various settings in and around the villages, townships and cities of the United Kingdom.

The stories, whilst thematically linked, approached the essential premise from a wide variety of different directions, some subtle and some far less opaque. The nature of menace could either be reflected through a particular act, the body language of a particular character, the environment in which an episode was set, or a set of circumstances under which a character or characters was placed.

The success of the series was firmly rooted in the changing nature of menace from episode to episode, and this became a potent allure for audiences ensuring healthy ratings figures and commanding attention from the popular press.

The programme drew from the creative well of a fine combination of writers … who were able to inject menace into darkly comic situations, and heighten darkly menacing situations to make a viewing pleasure transform itself into an uncomfortable time for the audience ...

Plays such as The Straight And Narrow, Good Morning Yesterday!, Killing Time, Nine Bean Rows and Judas Goat were particularly memorable, mainly for their novel approach to story-telling and their ability to whole-heartedly embrace the menace motif in a manner which did not over-ride the story itself, yet contained a dramatic impact for the viewer.

The series is a credit to Jordan Lawrence's powers of persuasion in terms of luring strong performers and reliable production hands into an anthology series which would pave the way for future productions.

Menace would be a decisive turning point in the nature of anthology series which would appear on British Television ...

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Full article on Startrader

IMDB entry

Unfortunately, according to Lisa Kerrigan at the BFI, this episode appears not to have survived.

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