The Wednesday Play: Play For Today – The General’s Day (1972)

William Trevor is widely regarded as one of the greatest contemporary writers of short stories in the English language. Nominated for the Booker Prize five times and winner of the Whitbread Prize three times, he was awarded an honorary CBE in 1977, made a Companion of Literature in 1994, and was given an honorary KBE for his services to literature in 2002.

Although most of his work has been literary, between 1965 and 1978, he wrote many plays for both the BBC and ITV, including the famous O Fat White Woman, which was adapted from a short story in 1971 for the BBC’s Play For Today. The following year, he wrote The General’s Day, which starred Annette Crosbie (One Foot In The Grave), Dandy Nichols (In Sickness and Health) and, in one of his last ever roles, Alastair Sim (Scrooge, the St Trinian’s movies and Ealing comedies). Sim plays the general of the title, General Suffolk, who wants to get rid of his housekeeper (Nichols) as he’s persuaded a much younger school teacher (Crosbie) to move in with him.

It’s a bittersweet piece, demonstrating Trevor’s typically acute observations of the human condition, and it’s today’s Wednesday Play.