Death of a Teddy Bear was based on the famous Alma Rattenbury murder trial. It was first broadcast as a BBC Wednesday Play on 15th February 1967. It won the 1967 Writer’s Guild Award for Best Play. It was broadcast again on July 17th 1968 and was later adapted as a stage play, called Molly.

The cast was as follows:

OLIVER TREEFE – Hywel Bennett
MOLLY – Brenda Bruce
EVE – Rachel Kempson
TEDDIE – Kenneth J. Warren
MRS SEAGROVE – Margery Withers
MRS GRANGER – Dorothea Rundle
INSPECTOR CARDLES – John Bailey

Director: Waris Hussein
Producer: Lionel Harris
Script Editor: Kenith Trodd
Music: Michael Dress

Kenith Trodd writing in the Radio Times, 9th February, 1967:

Death Of A Teddy Bear – Brenda Bruce and Kenneth J Warren appear in tonight’s violent play – set in the 1930s: On the outskirts of the small stuffy village of Leigh Hampton stands Grangetrees, a shabbily opulent mansion which over the years has become an unofficial manor house to the community. The Church Fete is customarily held on its lawns, its tenants are apt to confer a gratifying prestige on the district. In tonight’s play Grangetrees has new tenants, and an odd, inappropriate trio they seem to the villagers. Teddie is an elderly Canadian millionaire who has retired here with Mollie, his newish, youngish, and highly emotional wife. They have come to live at Grangetrees with Mollie’s companion, a taut, severe lady called Eve. Mollie is beginning to find the Home Counties’ routine frustrating to her volatile “artistic” temperament. Leigh Hampton is starting to bore her, and she is about ready for an adventure. She finds what she is looking for, but what begins as a mild diversion ends tragically.

Death Of A Teddy Bear is one of the Wednesday Play’s rare departures from present-day setting. Its author Simon Gray, who is a successful young novelist, says: “The idea for the play came after I read a popular account of a famous scandal of the mid-1930s. When I later started to write I deliberately put out of mind all the details of the real case. What I saw was an extraordinary mixture of the horrific, comic, and pathetic in a situation where four people who intend no harm to each other succeed only in creating a nightmare of mutual destruction”. Brenda Bruce plays Mollie, and the part of Treefe is taken by Hywel Bennett (the boy in Where The Buffalo Roam), star of the film The Family Way. The director is Waris Hussein.