"Homeless Kittens Find Fame": Daily Mirror piece on The Watching Cat (April 1961)

This piece from the Daily Mirror's "Telepage" previews The Watching Cat, a 1961 BBC "mystery thriller" in which Jacqueline Hill starred. I think it was an adaptation of a 1960 mystery novel by Pamela Fry - I've just found an interesting blog post here about the book.

It would be lovely if this turned out to exist somewhere. That's unlikely, but not impossible, given that the article mentions it was recorded; I've recently learned that the BFI holds copies of one or two other obscure early plays in which Jackie appeared (about which more will come in a separate post). Worth noting that, again, she has been cast here in a role that makes use of her ability to deliver a convincing Canadian or American accent.

I'm sorry about the poor quality of the image. It isn’t my scan, but I'm guessing the original newspaper wasn’t particularly clear. Text transcribed below for ease of reading.

[ETA: After linking to Brian Busby's blog, The Dusty Bookcase, above, I re-read his post and noticed a comment below it in which he mentions that Anthony Coburn wrote the screenplay for The Watching Cat. Scholars of early Doctor Who will know that Coburn also wrote "An Unearthly Child" (the very first serial, of which Jackie spoke the first lines, as far as I remember) and the unproduced "The Masters of Luxor".

Admittedly this is the kind of coincidence that will interest only a small number of people. But I'm one of those, and I'm pleased by the serendipity of finding it out via someone else's tightly focused and otherwise entirely unconnected blog.]

"Homeless Kittens Find Fame"

by Richard Sear

Tonight's mystery thriller "The Watching Cat" (BBC, 8.50) brings television fame to two homeless, unwanted kittens.

And it has provided them with a good home.

The BBC needed identical kittens for the play.

They asked Mrs Nerea de Clifford, of the London Cats’ Protection League, if she could help.

She could not, but her postman knew of two kittens existing in a deserted basement.

The kittens were fed and groomed for the play, which is recorded. Jacqueline Hill plays Catherine, a Canadian girl who leaves a lonely life in a prairie town to take over a house she inherits in Montreal.

She runs into strange relatives … a sinister young man who moves as quietly as a cat … and murder.

This play was not recorded as is considered missing.