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Separate Tables

Terence Rattigan | Separate Tables

Separate Tables, Terence Rattigan’s famous play from 1954, consists of two linked one-act plays set in the Beauregard Private Hotel, a run-down hotel in Bournemouth, England. In one, a divorcee tracks down her former husband in order to resume a kind of half-life with him. In the other, a repressed young spinster offers moral support to a fake major accused of importuning women in a local cinema. Rattigan wrote an alternative version in which it is revealed the major was a homosexual thus insinuating the major was pursuing illicit sex not with women but with other males in that local Bournemouth cinema.

Separate Tables premiered in 1954 at the St James’s Theatre in London on 22 September. Directed by Peter Glenville and starring Margaret Leighton and Eric Portman in the leading roles, it received rave reviews; critics unanimously hailing the play as ‘a triumph’. The production was later taken to Broadway.

Separate Tables has been made into film three times. The first time was in 1958 when Rattigan and co-writer John Gay were nominated for an Academy Award for screenwriting. (David Niven won the Best Actor Oscar and Wendy Hiller won Best Supporting Actress). A re-make was produced by the BBC TV in 1970, directed by Alan Cooke with Geraldine McEwan (Sibyl/Anne); Eric Porter (Major Pollock/John Malcolm); Annette Crosbie (Miss Cooper); Robert Harris (Mr.Fowler)’Hazel Hughes (Miss Meacham); Pauline Jameson (Mrs. Railton-Bell); Cathleen Mesbitt (Lady Matheson).

Here is the third film version, John Schlesinger’s television production made in 1983. Great performances from a stunning all-star cast.

Running time: 58’30”

Sir Terence Mervyn RattiganCBE (10 June 1911 – 30 November 1977) was one of England’s most popular mid 20th century dramatists. His plays are typically set in an upper-middle-class background. He wrote The Winslow Boy (1946), The Browning Version (1948), The Deep Blue Sea (1952) and Separate Tables (1954), among many others.

A troubled homosexual, Rattigan viewed himself as an outsider. His plays centred largely on issues of failed relationships, sexual frustration, and a world of repression and reticence.


Separate Tables (1983 TV Movie)

Full Cast & Crew

Directed by 

John Schlesinger  
Ken Price (studio director)

Writing Credits

Terence Rattigan  … (play)

John Gay                     … (co-writer, screenplay)

Cast (in credits order)  

Julie Christie Julie Christie Mrs. Shankland / Miss Railton-Bell
Alan Bates Alan Bates John Malcolm / Maj. Pollock
Claire Bloom Claire Bloom Miss Cooper
Irene Worth Irene Worth Mrs. Railton-Bell
Sylvia Barter Sylvia Barter Lady Matheson
Bernard Archard Bernard Archard Mr. Fowler
Liz Smith Liz Smith Miss Meacham
Kathy Staff Kathy Staff Mabel
Brian Deacon Brian Deacon Charles Stratton
Susannah Fellows Susannah Fellows Miss Jean Tanner
Chrissie Cotterill Chrissie Cotterill Doreen

Produced by 

Mort Abrahams executive producer
Colin Callender executive producer
Patrick Dromgoole executive producer
Edie Landau producer
Ely A. Landau producer
Danny Steinmann associate producer

Casting By 

Jeremy Zimmermann  

Production Design by 

Julia Trevelyan Oman  

Costume Design by 

Jane Robinson  

Makeup Department 

Sue Bide makeup artist / makeup artist: Julie Christie
Barbara Southcott makeup artist

Second Unit Director or Assistant Director 

Suzanna Shaw first assistant director

Art Department 

Billy Bridge standby props
Chris Cook art designer
Jonathan Holbrook lead painter
Tony Pace graphics
Bryn Siddall prop buyer

Sound Department 

Alan Eagling dubbing
Colin Gilchrist dubbing
Denis Stevenson sound

Camera and Electrical Department 

John Burgess lighting director
Alan Gibbs chargehand electrician
Gary Penny cameras
Tony Poole vision control
Peter Wherlock vision control

Costume and Wardrobe Department 

Chrissie Pegg wardrobe supervisor

Editorial Department 

John Bourne vision mixer
Peter Buchanan videotape editor

Other crew 

Tony Annis floor manager
Dave Bartle production controller
Denise Cockram production assistant
Jeremy Eynon production runner
Christopher Lloyd Pack stage manager
Joanne Verity producer’s secretary (as Joanna Verity)

Release Dates

USA 14 March 1983

Production Companies

  • HTV
  • Home Box Office (HBO)


  • Harlech Television (HTV) (1983) (UK) (all media)
  • Home Box Office (HBO) (1983) (USA) (TV) (original airing)
  • ITV Studios (UK) (TV)
  • Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) (2009) (World-wide) (all media)

[Source: IMDB]


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