Howard Spring’s novel was made into a TV drama in 1982, but it first appeared on my radar when I saw it on a list of fictional spankings which Murray Roberts compiled for Janus. Murray wrote simply that:
A mother turns her teenage daughter over her knee bares her bottom, and spanks her.
I bought a paperback copy of the book and remember the anticipation of watching it on TV and praying that they would include the spanking scene. (There had already been a black and white film which left it out.)
Ann Artingsall, played by Joanna David, is a rebellious suffragette whose mother uses a hairbrush to spank her across the bed. It’s not bare bottom like the book but, as domestic F/F scenes go, this is about as realistic as you’re likely to see.
Ann keeps her face buried in the bed sheets and makes no sound either. Perhaps she has good reason for keeping quiet. She wouldn’t want the servants to overhear her cries would she? But a nosy maid is listening outside the door who will no doubt make sure that she tells everyone.
Martyn liked this scene enough to include it in his Top Ten but he thought it came from another costume drama called Testament of Youth. Harry was the first to spot that Martyn’s description matches the spanking in Fame is the Spur (see comments to this post).
Since the clip begins rather abruptly and you don’t see Joanna David’s face I’ve added a little gallery of pictures.
1. On the cover of the book.
2. Ann Artingsall
3. Lady Yeovil in Downton Abbey
4. Being interviewed for TV with daughter Emilia Fox at the Chelsea Flower Show last month