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News and updates for the Patrick Wymark Boardroom - a website about the Power Game actor.

Maintained by Harry Dobermann. Email me at

Devils Advocates: Blood On Satan’s Claw

Uncategorised Posted on Wed, May 26, 2021 15:38:32

The Blood on Satan’s Claw by David Evans-Powell is one of the latest books in the Devil’s Advocates range from Liverpool University Press.

Priced at £19.99 for a pocket sized paperback, it devotes 116 pages to every aspect of the 1971 release Blood On Satan’s Claw.

Evans-Powell breaks the movie down into several themes such as Nature and Civilisation and The Fiend and Its Followers and explores the sub-dermal content which ensures the movie’s immortality.

The actual production and release of the movie is covered in the first 16 pages of the book. The production of the film has been well covered in other areas, and in any case this is more a book about the interpretation of the film, rather than its construction. Nevertheless, this opening section does include an interesting discussion about the period in which the story takes place. Evans-Powell explores the alternatives, just as he thoroughly examines each thematic aspect of the movie. He concludes that the film is deliberately ambiguous: both the Judge and Angel are “unsympathetic and dangerous” – the film refuses to take sides.

You can buy The Blood On Satan’s Claw direct from Liverpool University Press at Liverpool University Press: Books: The Blood on Satan’s Claw

Wymark’s Eagles

Uncategorised Posted on Sun, May 02, 2021 15:34:20

In Where Eagles Dare, Patrick Wymark briefs the small team of “Eagles” on their secret mission. Although they may seem to be an ill-matched group of strangers, they all have previous connections with Wymark.

As Thomas, William Squire was an established member of the Old Vic theatre company when Patrick Wymark made his debut. Squire (who would go on to play Hunter in Callan) played Benvolio in the 1952 production of Romeo and Juliet where Wymark appeared as Friar John.

As Berkely, Peter Barkworth had, of course, vied with Wymark as Kenneth Bligh in the first two series of The Power Game. And as Christiansen, Donald Houston had previously been on the opposite side to Wymark’s detective in the 1961 play The Takers.

While Michael Hordern (Admiral Rolland) had previously appeared with Wymark in the Disney version of Dr Syn it appears that Wymark and Richard Burton had never appeared together (Burton joining the Old Vic as a lead actor, the year after Wymark left the company).

A Question About Hell

Uncategorised Posted on Wed, April 28, 2021 09:27:36

27 April 1964 – Patrick Wymark and Caroline Mortimer star in A Question About Hell – Kingsley Amis’ update of The Duchess of Malfi.

The Blood On Satan’s Claw at 50

Uncategorised Posted on Sun, April 18, 2021 15:48:50

It seems particularly eerie that I was advised sometime after Midnight Friday night of this 117 page magazine celebrating 50 years since The Blood on Satan’s Claw or ‘Satan’s Skin’ first hit British cinemas. I was just uploading a comment when unearthly forces took down Twitter. Coincidence or not, it gave me more time on Saturday to read through “Horror Homeroom Issue Number 4”. until the Dionysian forces of Twitter reassembled themselves.

I won’t pretend to have read through the whole magazine yet. There’s far too much to think about in the ten articles analyzing the movie. Editor Dawn Keetley gets off to a good start in her introduction by presenting a link to the 1970 Kine Weekly article which first described The Devil’s Touch (as it was filmed) as, “a study in folk horror, ” underlining the fact that this sub-genre is far from being a recent attempt to superimpose 21st century concerns on 20th century film-making.

Of immediate interest here, of course, Paul A. J. Lewis examines Patrick Wymark’s performance as The Judge, whose “morality…is not uncomplicated.” Drawing on earlier performances (not least the original stage production of The Devils and John Mortimer’s production, The Judge) Wymark brings what Piers Haggard identified as , “a wit and power,” that more traditional horror film casting would not. The final freeze-frame poses the question what the unintended costs are of authority crushing troublesome ideology.

Michael Jacob suggests the demon offers a purpose to the downtrodden through membership in a cult, and discusses the transformation of The Judge from impotent elitist intellectual to a heroic communal agent of action.

The magazine covers every aspect of Blood on Satan’s Claw : David Annwn Jones argues that Angel Blake (Linda Hayden) reflects public perceptions of then-current child murderer Mary Bell, Matthias Hurst reflects on the struggles of the young against authority, Jessica Parant examines the film’s contrasting view of bad girls and good women to include Isobel (Avice Landon) and Ellen (Charlotte Mitchell). Michael Cerliano argues that the demon battles Enlightenment rationalism rather than Christianity, Kern Robinson asks why the demon of the movie is so ineffectual, Lynsey Townend discusses the fur that infects its victims, and Dawn Keetley traces the history of the ruined church used in many of the scenes and suggests that it ties in with anxities about the declining British birth rate at the time the movies was filmed.

It would be wrong of me to go on at more length, when you can download the magazine yourself at

The Takers (April 2 1961)

Uncategorised Posted on Wed, April 07, 2021 11:18:01
Donald Houston and Dorothy White in The Takers

Patrick Wymark played Boucard, the French private detective with an eye for detail in The Takers, an episode of ATV’s Drama ’61 strand, on April 2 1961. Written by prolific New Zealander Jacques Gillies (Cash On Demand), the play starred Donald Houston (Where Eagles Dare) as Hartley Dowling, an ingenious Irish crook who tells his associates Wilkie (Alan Dobie) and Boyd (Kenneth Cope), “We’re not going to do any of the things that people expect us to do. We’re going to be un-English and unsporting and just the three of us are going to pull off the biggest take in history.”

Baron Van Der Zost (Guy Deghy), the fifth richest man in the world. Van Der Zost moves his family and jewel collection into the heavily guarded penthouse of a London hotel. While the Baron holds a light-hearted press conference, his security team led by Boucard finalises arrangements for the jewels.

Guy Deghy as Van Der Zost

Downing’s scheme exploits the resemblance of Charmian Scott (Dorothy White) to Van Der Zost’s daughter Inga (Joy Webster). Despite Charmian’s nerves, Downing’s plan seems to succeed and the gang begins to check out of the hotel. However, Boucard’s eye for detail derails Downing’s scheme at the last minute when he recalls that Charmian was wearing sunglasses, but Inga left hers on the plane. Downing is shot by one of his own men, aiming for Boucard. (Gillies’ script was remade by NBC in 1963 with Walter Matthau as Downing and William Hansen as Boucard).

The Plane Makers: How Can You Win, If You Haven’t Bought A Ticket?

Uncategorised Posted on Wed, March 31, 2021 14:45:21
Peter Madden, Jack Watling, Reginald Marsh and Patrick Wymark

“The Sugden’s of this world are obsolete. Like Bedsocks!”

The 31st March 1964 episode of The Plane Makers brings the conflict between Wilder and Sugden to a head with the end of Sugden’s six-month trial as General Works Manager. Wilder carries a campaign of small insults to undermine Sugden, but the rivalry comes to a head when Sugden is invited to deliver a paper at the Aero Engineers Conference. Wilder plans to sign a deal for six Sovereigns with Gilbert Corey of the Anglo Air Company at the conference. It’s going to be a touch sell, but then Wilder discovers that Corey and Sugden know each other from the War. “How Can You Win If You Haven’t Bought A Ticket?”

The Wymark car-crash mystery

Uncategorised Posted on Mon, March 22, 2021 17:34:20

One question that often comes up is, “where did Patrick Wymark get that scar on his bottom lip?” And the short answer is, “a car crash.”

But the long answer provides a hole in my research that I’ve been unable to fill. As we’ve seen here, Patrick Wymark joined the Old Vic Theatre school, and took part in the graduation show in June 1951. In September/October 1952, he made his professional debut with one line in Othello. And he continued to appear in Old Vic productions up to Henry VIII in May 1953.

According to a magazine interview with Olwen Wymark, when their daughter Jane, “was about five months old, Patrick went off on tour in South Africa. He was to be away for over five months and it seemed terribly tragic at the time.”

According to a magazine interview given by Patrick Wymark, the tour of South Africa was with the Old Vic company. And while appearing in Salisbury, Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) , “I was driving along a main street when a car shot out from an intersection and ran into me. When I regained consciousness I was in hospital. I had gone headfirst through the wind-screen and my lower lip was almost torn off. They put 25 stiches into the main wound, but for days I couldn’t speak.”

In her own magazine interview, Olwen doesn’t mention the car crash, but remarks that, “Patrick came back wearing a beard.”

Strangely enough, I’ve been unable to track down any details of the 1953 tour of South Africa. The previous year, the Old Vic company under Tyrone Guthrie had made a successful tour of South Africa and Rhodesia from May to November 1952. The 40-strong company had included Jane Wenham, Paul Rogers and Douglas Campbell, while Jennifer Bourke and Robert Shaw had actually got married in Rhodesia. But I can’t find any details about the 1953 tour. And I’ve been unable to find any credits for Patrick Wymark until November 1954. So, rather than keep banging my head against a wall, I thought it was time to put this out on the internet, and see what came back.

UPDATE April 7 2021: Many thanks to researcher John Smith who has provided a copy of passenger manifests confirming that Patrick Wymark was a passenger on the Pretoria Castle, along with other members of the Old Vic company, when it set sail for Capetown on 22 May 1952.

Patrick Wymark at the Old Vic Theatre School

Uncategorised Posted on Mon, February 22, 2021 17:50:45

A couple of posts dealing with Patrick Wymark’s time at the Old Vic Theatre School and his first appearances with that company.

I haven’t been able to find any photo’s of Wymark himself, but is one of Irene Worth, who stunned the critics with her interpretation of Desdemona in Othello and Portia in The Merchant of Venice. You can start to read about the Old Vic Theatre School here.

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