Executive Producer: James Mitchell
Producer: James Mitchell, Christopher Neame
Director: Roy W Baker, Peter Sykes
THE IRISH RM, II/Episode 1/Intro by Alistair Cooke
Good evening, I'm Alistair Cooke.
Tonight we begin a new series of The Irish RM. Before anyone says, How's that again, let me recall the remark of an American critic when these stories were first published in book form in 1899. The title, he said, is meaningless.
Well, the period of this new set of stories is 1908 when King Edward VII had succeeded his mother, Victoria, and like her reigned over the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland--all of Ireland. The ancient distrust between the Catholic South and the Protestant North had not yet erupted into a religious war. Irish society was a feisty mix of family and local feuds between the Irish and the Anglo-Irish, not least between the Irish and the Irish. The British had the same sort of problem on an enormous scale in say, India, between castes and tribes and languages and so on. And there, local justice was unlikely to be dispensed by the locals so they invented the institution of the RM--the Resident Magistrate--a man sent out from England to try and bring something like justice to the local benches.
Now of course, there must have been splendid resident magistrates who did exactly that and there must have been boneheads. In between, shall we say, is our man. Major Yeates, once a soldier, is fair-minded, guileless, and constantly puzzled to discover that an Englishman in Ireland is an Englishman in a foreign country. He's married now, he's settled down in the county town of Skebawn, and he's resigned to the amiable chaos of an Irish country house and a family clan, the Knoxes. The matriarch, Lady Knox, likes to think that she rules the roost, but the real squire, the subtle dictator of Skebawn and the Major's landlord, is the genial scamp Flurry Knox. To the horror of Lady Knox, Flurry has married her daughter, his own cousin. And they've just returned from their honeymoon.
The Irish RM, second series, episode one.
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