Myrtle and the Comic-Relief Literary Convention

Directors’ notes

Staging: End-on
Sound: As indicated within the text. These effects should be created by the actors themselves or a sound crew.
Setting: A radio studio


Noel Coward is interrupted during the first draft composition of the ‘Brief Encounter’ screenplay by Myrtle Bagot, the tea-room manageress character. She threatens him with exposure unless he gives her all of Laura’s lines and drops the comic-relief literary convention that has working class characters portrayed as witless and without emotional depth. The film’s future is threatened by her demands until the Alec character finds a compromise.


Radio Announcer
Myrtle Bagot – Manageress of the Milford-junction waiting room café.
Noel Coward – writer
Laura – A happily-married woman – or rather she was until a few weeks ago
Alec – a doctor