A Way with the Ladies was first broadcast as a BBC Wednesday Play on 10 May 1967. It is based on the novel A Helping Hand by Celia Dale.
The cast was as follows:
JOSH – Bill Fraser
MAISIE – Barbara Couper
CYNTHIA – Amy Dalby
GRAZIELLA – Catherine Howe
LENA – Iris Russell
EMMANUELLA – Iole Marinelli
Director: John Glenister
Producer: Lionel Harris
Script Editor: Kenith Trodd
Kenith Trodd writing in the Radio Times, May 4th 1967:
A Way With The Ladies – Bill Fraser, Amy Dalby, and Barbara Couper in tonight’s play by Simon Gray, author of Death Of A Teddy Bear: There is a rather mawkish recitation called “I like old people don’t you?” which is sometimes trundled out by beery bores as a party piece. Josh and Maisie in tonight’s play would probably approve of the sentiment because for them old people are very much to be cared for, cooed over, and altogether taken with great seriousness. Josh and Maisie come to Italy after the passing of their Auntie Flo – auntie by affectionate adoption rather than by blood and who recently occupied their cosy spare room. But the busy devoted pair scarcely have any time to relax in the sun before they take up a new challenge to their calling in the shape of Mrs Cynthia Fingal and her niece Lena.
As Josh says of frail, sweet Cynthia whom they meet in Lemici: “A little old auntie with bent legs and a bad bladder is entitled to a luxury now and then”. Lenia is a dutiful girl but her youth (she’s thirty-seven) is slipping away in auntie’s service. Maisie manages to convince Lena that auntie would be better off with her and Josh in the peace of their semi, Nookhaven. And Josh has no trouble in endearing himself to Cynthia…
This is the second television play by Simon Gray, whose Death Of A Teddy Bear was an immensely successful Wednesday Play. A Way With The Ladies (based on a novel by Celia Dale) also creates an extraordinary sense of the horror, comedy, and pathos hovering beneath an apparently ordinary situation.