The Wednesday Play: The Lie (1970)

Ingmar Bergman is obviously best known as a film director, but intriguingly, back in 1970, he wrote a play for British television called The Lie. To be strictly accurate, it was commissioned by the Swedish Broadcasting Corporation on behalf of European members participating in ‘The Largest Theatre in the World’ – a project to have a play broadcast simultaneously in several languages across Europe – and the BBC carried the UK version as part of its Play for Today strand.

This was directed by Alan Bridges and starred Frank Finlay and Gemma Jomes as a married couple with a not especially great relationship. Finlay’s character is being over-looked in favour of younger men at work, while Jones spends most of her time with her mentally ill brother (Joss Ackland) and her lover (John Carson). The only things that keep the two together are lies. And then the lies get exposed.

Sounds as cheery as most Bergman works, hey? Well, it’s this week’s Wednesday’s Play and you can watch it below. Enjoy!

Interestingly, despite The Lie being a European project, Alex Segal directed a version in 1973 in the US for CBS’s Playhouse 90 that starred George Segal, Shirley Knight Hopkins, Robert Culp, Victor Buono and William Daniels.

UPDATE: Now with newly working video, thanks to Chaim


  • Rob Buckley

    I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.