The Lion and the Unicorn

(by James Oldroyd.  Rights owned by Hawdon Productions Ltd)

Dramatised version of an extraordinary true event.


It is on historical record that, on the evening of October 13th 1939, six weeks after war had been declared on Hitler’s Germany, Winston Churchill and Neville Chamberlain, implacable opponents for years over the appeasement issue - a debate which is so relevant still today - met together with their two wives, Clementine and Anne, for a private dinner at Admiralty House. Chamberlain was still Prime Minister, but had seen all his efforts to negotiate peace with Hitler shattered, Churchill had been recalled to the cabinet after ten years ‘in the wilderness’, his dire warnings of the Nazi threat vindicated. Not much is known about the occasion except for the fact that it was the first and only time the four ever met privately, despite nearly twenty years of parliamentary association between the two men.

This play is an imaginary account of that extraordinary evening, when the two giants of the political scene, with their contrasting political philosophies, met together with their equally imposing wives. It has yet to find a first production despite various attempts – due mostly to the difficulty of casting the two main protagonists.

Cast

  • WINSTON CHURCHILL (aged 63)
  • CLEMENTINE CHURCHILL (aged 54)
  • NEVILLE CHAMBERLAIN (aged 70)
  • ANNE CHAMBERLAIN (aged 56)
  • INCHES (the Churchill’s elderly butler)

Setting

T he main reception room of the ministerial apartment on the upper floors of Admiralty House. Spacious and elegantly furnished, but at the same time congenial and comfortable. Besides various other paintings, a large portrait of Nelson hangs prominently on one wall.