The Runner (1962 film)

  (Redirected from The Runner (TV play))

The Runner is a 1962 Australian television play written by Alan Seymour which screened on ATN 7.[1]

The Runner
Written byAlan Seymour
Directed byBrett Porter
Country of originAustralia
Original language(s)English
Running time60 mins
Original release24 October 1962 (1962-10-24)

Australian TV drama was relatively rare at the time.[2]


  • Lew Luton
  • Reg Lye
  • Brian Anderson as the ex-trainer


A copy of the script was sent to Herb Elliot to see if he would take offence. He wrote back saying he approved of the play.[3]

In January 1961 it was announced the play had been filmed.[4]


It aired on Wednesday 24 October 1962 at 8 pm as part of a series of programs called By Special Request.[5]

The critic for the Sydney Morning Herald wrote that the play:

Exemplified his [Seymour's] gift for finding subjects of universal potential combined with a central relevance to Australian occupations. His "The One Day of the Year" memorably explored the dramatic possibilities of Anzac Day. "The Runner" promised well by taking as its central character a young Australian athlete rigorously trained to achieve fame far outdistancing his personal readiness for it. Some of the incidentals of his career (though not its particular outcome) sounded familiar enough: the combination of cross-country running and pseudo-Greek idealism, the jargon about a philosophy of running" and the participation of "the whole man," not to mention the intervention of an American promoter waving large sums of money. Clearly there was opportunity here either for satire or for the compassionate treatment of an emotionally undernourished boy who has obediently turned himself into a running machine. But the playwright, or his producer... seem to have blurred these aims for the sake of a rather flabby compromise that was neither stingingly enjoyable nor a pathetic character study of any depth. The scenes in which Lew Luton's heavily truculent runner decided to put his career as a champion before the claims of his girlfriend, family and job, seemed wholly mechanical. The dialogue itself sounded well below the standards of naturalistic invention that Seymour might bring to it if he rewrote it now. Even Reg Lye as the long-suffering father could make little of a part that seemed to consist entirely of lines like "Now, now mother," and "When are you going to settle down, son." The scene showing the athlete in the extremities of training was effective if horrific, and the play retrieved itself at the end with its most effective stroke of dramatic irony: the runner departing with his life almost wholly in ruin and his ex trainer (Brian Anderson) experiencing a moment of doubt behind the eyes as he parroted his phrases about training "the whole man" to his next young charge.[6]


  1. ^ The bulletin, John Haynes and J.F. Archibald, 1880, retrieved 23 March 2019
  2. ^ Vagg, Stephen (18 February 2019). "60 Australian TV Plays of the 1950s & '60s". Filmink.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Marshall, Val (1 January 1961). "Merry Go Round". Sydney Morning Herald. p. 50.
  5. ^ "Mitch Miller Variety". Sydney Morning Herald. 22 October 1962. p. 13.
  6. ^ "Drama Reviews". Sydney Morning Herald. 25 October 1962. p. 8.