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The Way of the World - 'The Confederacy of Wives' (1975)

The Way of the World - 'The Confederacy of Wives'

'The Confederacy of Wives', adapted from the play of the same name by John Vanbrugh, is episode two (of five) in comedy series The Way of the World.  It was produced by Thames Television and first broadcast on Wednesday 12 March 1975 (ITV, 9-10pm).

Although I do not have an image of ZoŽ in the programme, included here is one of her publicity photos from around the time it was broadcast.


Vanbrugh's bawdy play about two wealthy brokers who are attracted to each other's wives is among five Restoration comedies brought to TV as part of The Way of the World.  The series aims to demonstrate that plays written during a famously exuberant, licentious period of seventeenth-century English history can appeal to modern sensibilities.  As the TV Times pointed out when 'The Confederacy of Wives' was originally broadcast, modern audiences can relate to the play's forward-looking views on married life.  The magazine joked: 'Is this the first play about wife swapping?  With its provocative ideas, it might have been written last week'!

ZoŽ plays Corinna, the daughter of wealthy broker Gripe and his wife, Clarissa.  Gripe takes a fancy to his wife's friend, Araminta; luckily for him, Araminta's husband, Moneytrap (also a well-to-do broker, as his name suggests) is attracted to Clarissa!  With the wit and intrigue characteristic of Restoration comedy, Clarissa and Araminta take advantage of the unusual state of their personal affairs by encouraging their tight-fisted husbands to part with some money...


Clarissa ... Rosemary Leach
Flippanta, Clarissa's maid ... Toni Palmer
Gripe, Clarissa's husband ... Donald Sinden
Corinna, Clarissa and Gripe's daughter ... Zoe Wanamaker
Jessamin, Gripe's manservant ... Walter McKone
Araminta, Clarissa's friend ... Shelia Ballantine
Moneytrap, Araminta's husband ... Bernard Cribbins
Mrs Cloggit ... Peggy Ann Wood
Mrs Amlet ... Hermione Baddeley
Dick Amlet, Mrs Amlet's son ... James Booth
Brass, Dick's manservant ... Trevor Peacock
Chip, a goldsmith ... John Cater


Producer/Director: Peter Duguid
Researcher: Virginia Snyders
Designer: Assheton Gorton


A couple of years before 'The Confederacy of Wives' was broadcast, ZoŽ appeared on-stage in a more famous play by Vanbrugh, The Provoked Wife.


Unfortunately, 'The Confederacy of Wives' is not available on DVD or in any other format.

Related links

BFI Film & TV Database: 'The Confederacy of Wives' programme details

IMDb: 'The Confederacy of Wives' programme details

With thanks to Nadine for the photo.

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