David Mercer’s movingly naturalistic play takes as its starting point the varieties of dispossession and disparity: between the deprivation of the 1930s and the affluence of the 1950s; and between material prosperity and its accompanying spiritual and political apathy.
The divisions are embodied by Wilf, a sixty-year-old railwayman, whose wife is dying. His sons Richard and Edgar come home: Edgar the nuclear scientist bringing his wife Margaret; Richard the failed artist bringing his heavily pregnant fiancée. Edgar is self-satisfied and conventionally successful, Richard is a disillusioned political idealist drifting into teaching. Both of Wilf’s upwardly mobile sons are unrecognisable to him, as all struggle to understand each other’s values.
Where the Difference Begins was first broadcast by BBC Television in 1961.