Extract from The Good and Faithful Servant



Orton’s next work was completed in 1964 as Sloane was taking off. The Good and Faithful Servant was a one-act play for Rediffusion Television, Orton’s comment on the drudgery and deadening routine of the factory system.

This is one of Orton’s most biographical works drawing strongly from his family and experiences in Leicester with a bitter theme of wasted lives and lost ambition. The work was not actually filmed until 1967 and by then Orton’s writing had moved on considerably and this remains a somewhat different work, far more slice of life realism than the farcical taboo breaking comedies he was to write later.

His diary records his thoughts on Donald Pleasance, who was playing the lead role, while attending rehearsals at Rediffusion Studios in 1967, three years after writing the play. The comments reflect a writer at ease with their craft.

‘Surprising how stars add to a play. I’d never realised what real stars did. They light up lines and situations in an uncanny way. There’s no question of a real star doing a line wrong.’ January 1967.

Image: Courtesy The Orton Estate/Joe Orton Collection at the Library of the University of Leicester   Text © Leicester City Council / Orton Quotes: © The Orton Estate  

Copyright Notice: Reproduction of material on Joe Orton Online is not permitted without prior approval from the owner of the
relevant intellectual property rights. For full terms of use click here
Joe Orton Online was created and developed by Alison Forsythe.
Web Design © Alison Forsythe.