Fellow Traveller TX Card

Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission














This is the transmission card for the Screen Two drama, Fellow Traveller, written by Michael Eaton, produced by Michael Wearing, and directed by Philip Saville. It was one of very few feature films produced at Pebble Mill, Under Milk Wood 1992, being another.

Thanks to Ann Chancellor-Davies for sharing the TX card. Ann’s late husband Gavin Davies was the production designer on the drama.



Fellow Traveller poster and script front page


Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission






























Thanks to Ann Chancellor-Davies for sharing this promotional film poster, and the front page of the rehearsal script, (Ann’s huband Gavin, was the production designer on the film). It never ceases to surprise and delight me, how many script front pages have been kept by people – they are such a mine of useful information!

Fellow Traveller was the only cinematic feature film to be made at Pebble Mill, it was transmitted on 10th February, 1991 on BBC2.

Below is the entry from the Radio Times, courtesy of the BBC Genome project:

“Starring Ron Silver, Imogen Stubbs, Daniel J Travanti, Hart Bochner
1950s Hollywood: the McCarthy senate committee is conducting a witch-hunt for supposed communists in the entertainment industry and betrayal is in the air. For three friends this proves to be a disaster – for the writer who must work incognito for the emerging ITV in England; for the musician now living in England, a painful renewal of old wounds; and for the star a final performance.
Producer Michael Wearing, Director Philip Saville”


The following comments were left on the Pebble Mill Facebook page:

Roger Slater: ‘I was Sound Mixer, ably assisted by the late great Tim Everett as Boom Operator and Benedict Peissel as Sound Assistant. Shot in Bray Studios and on location in the UK and Miami.’

Lesley Weaver: ‘I was the Hair & Make Up Designer, a privilege to work on this artistically challenging film as it covered historically wonderful periods for make & up and hair.

It took me to New York for photo shoots, Miami, The Keys glorious sea shore and numerous UK locations including Bray Film studios.

The fun recreation of 1950’s Robin Hood, Maid Marian, Sheriff of Nottingham and all the Merry (Stunt) Men.
Fighting scenes shot in Gavin Davies’s amazing huge forest built at Bray Film Studios.

Sue O’Neill was my lovely able Senior Assistant in the UK, amongst a team of talented make up girls and the late Peter Shepherd in the US.

We did 20’s 40’s & 50’s wigs, cut throats, pumping wounds and black blood for early 1950’s black & white TV make up… I remember Sue O’Neill baking her prosthetics around the country in various hotel ovens over night! Such dedication!
From Art Deco offices to post war austere London bedsits and disagreeable landladies. Then over to the warmth & glow of Hollywood party life with dazzling costumes glamorous film stars & cars, the McCarthy Committee cloud over Hollywood and suicide in coral swimming pools. It had it all for make up & costume!
Always a great laugh to work with Al Barnett Costume Designer extraordinaire and all the other talent technicians on the production ….. And let us not forget costume design assistant, Amin Hassan who we sadly lost a few week ago!

Writer Micheal Eaton was enthusiastically on set everyday and excited to be ‘wigged up’ for his Hitchcockesque cameo scenes! …

….. it was always a pleasure to find yourself working on one of Micheal Wearing’s productions as you knew all your hard work would contribute to something worthwhile.

How lucky was I?

Oh Happy Happy Days !!’











‘Fellow Traveller’ – interview with writer, Michael Eaton

This interview with writer, Michael Eaton, was recorded in spring 2011 at an archive screening event of the 1991 drama, ‘Fellow Traveller’.  It was the only feature film release from Pebble Mill, and was a co-production with HBO.  Michael Wearing was the producer, and Philip Saville the director.  It starred Imogen Stubbs, Ron Silver, Hart Bochner, and Daniel J Travanti.  The story covered the blacklisted American writers in the McCarthy era.  Many of these writers fled abroad, and some ended up working on British television shows like ITV’s ‘Robin Hood’.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

‘Fellow Traveller’ – Michael Eaton from pebblemill on Vimeo.

Archive Screening Event

Had an interesting day today at the Archive Screening Event at the School of Art in Margaret Street.  We showed several Pebble Mill dramas: A Touch of Eastern Promise by Tara Prem, A Box of Swan by Alan David Price and Fellow Traveller by Michael Eaton.   Tara Prem and Michael Eaton were able to join us and it was fascinating to hear from them about how the dramas came about.

Fellow Traveller is set in the McCarthy era in the US, when many Hollywood film makers were blacklisted for their Communist sympathies.  Some screen writers who couldn’t write in the States resorted to working for British television, particularly ITV’s highly successful Robin Hood series.  Fellow Traveller is the story of a Jewish writer: Asa Kaufman, who flees to Britain and writes several Robin Hood episodes.

Michael Eaton wrote Fellow Traveller as a speculative script which he sent to HBO.  The BBC had apparently already turned it down.  Two weeks later HBO asked him to come across to the States.  He said that going there was like having a masterclass in script writing.  He was told that what he’d submitted was a two Act drama, and what it needed to be was a three Act drama – he hadn’t come across the three Act structure before.  The original version finished with Asa Kaufman finding out how he had been betrayed and by whom, but unable to do anything about it.  He then had to write a third Act where Kaufman confronted Leavey, which gave a much more satisfying conclusion.

Fellow Taveller was a three way co-production between HBO, BBC Pebble Mill and the BFI.  It was shot on 35mm film, and had some theatrical release before being transmitted on BBC 2.  It was the only TV film made at Pebble Mill. HBO apparently needed two different versions – one shorter and without any of the scenes containing nudity or sex, and one longer than the BBC version with some additional scenes in. Greg Miller, who edited the film in Soho, told us about how HBO had become quite demanding about their different versions quite late in the day.  Michael Wearing produced the film and Philip Saville, who had worked with Michael Wearing on Boys from the Blackstuff, was the director.


Fellow Traveller – poster from Ann Chancellor-Davies

Fellow Traveller was produced at Pebble Mill in 1991 by Michael Wearing.  It was directed by Philip Saville (who also directed Gangsters and Boys from the Blackstuff), written by Michael Eaton and edited by Greg Miller.  Gavin Davies (who was Ann Chancellor-Davies’s husband – who supplied this photo) was the production designer. It was the only TV film produced at Pebble Mill, and was a co-production with HBO.
The film is set in the McCarthy era in the United States.  It follows a writer forced to work in England on the ITV serial – Robin Hood, to avoid the witch hunts in America.
It stars Ron Silver as Asa Kaufman, Imogen Stubbs as Sarah Aitchison, Hart Bochner as Clifford Byrne, Daniel J. Travanti as Jerry Leavy and Katherine Borowitz as Joan Kaufman.

Fellow Traveller is one of the Pebble Mill dramas to be screened at the archive screening event being held at the School of Art, Margaret Street, Birmingham on Saturday 5 March. It will be introduced by writer Michael Eaton, and producer Michael Wearing.  For more information about this free event go to: http://homeidentityandcitizenship.posterous.com/ .

Thanks to Ann Chancellor-Davies for making the poster available.