Ian Hendry + Wanda Ventham – The Lotus Eaters Promotional Still [BBC Production 1972- 1973]

From the archives comes a great still of Ian Hendry [as Erik Shepherd] and Wanda Ventham [as Ann Shepherd]

The Lotus Eaters is a BBC television drama made between 1972 and 1973.

Plot

The series, written by Michael J. Bird, dealt with the lives of various British expatriates living on the island of Crete and their reasons for being there.

The central characters were a married couple, Erik (Ian Hendry) and Ann Shepherd (Wanda Ventham), who ran a tavern called “Shepherd’s Bar”.

 

Picture: Ian Hendry and Michael J. Bird work on a script.

Ann is revealed in the first episode to be a sleeper agent of British Intelligence, Erik having been a broken-down drunk whom she was made to marry as part of her cover story. Other episodes dealt with the other expats who frequented the bar. The most intriguing character in both series is the Greek police captain, Michael Krasakis (Stefan Gryff). In the second series the British Intelligence aspect is developed, until a clash with Soviet and Chinese agents results in both Ann and Erik having to leave Crete. In the final scene, about to board a plane leaving Heraklion airport, they have a partial reconciliation, since each is the only person the other can trust.

Cast

Ian Hendry as Erik Shepherd
Wanda Ventham as Ann Shepherd
Timothy Carlton as Gerard Mace
Carol Cleveland as Leigh Mervish
James Kerry as Donald Culley
Sylvia Coleridge as Miriam Woolley
John Horsley as Sir Hugh Russell

Location

The Lotus Eaters was filmed in the Cretan resort of Aghios Nikolaos and derived its title from the Lotus Eaters of Greek mythology, where those who ate the fruit of the Lotus tree lost the desire to return home.

 

 

The series was also the first of the Mediterranean-based dramas written by Michael J. Bird for the BBC. The others included Who Pays the Ferryman?, also set in Crete, The Aphrodite Inheritance, set in Cyprus, and The Dark Side of the Sun, set in Rhodes.

Michael J. Bird

For those wishing to find out more about the work of Michael J. Bird, be sure to check out the excellent official tribute website run by Dave Rice.

Michael J. Bird – Official Tribute Website

Until next time,

Neil Hendry
Editor, Official Tribute To Ian Hendry

Further Reading

A detailed account of the life and work of Ian Hendry in the new biography:

Read: ‘Send in the Clowns – The Yo Yo Life Of Ian Hendry’ by Gabriel Hershman

Send In The Clowns - The Yo Yo Life of Ian Hendry

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