by N. C. Hunter
Adapted for television by Nigel Kneale
[Starring] Robert Eddison, Hector Ross and Daphne Slater
It is 1938, and Mussolini is still more or less firmly in power in Italy. At the Ministry of the Interior it seems a normal enough evening; Colonel Passamonte, the military adviser, is making security arrangements for one of the Duce's speeches. Then the phone rings and the night is normal no longer.
It appears that the Minister of the Interior, being in a hurry, tried to drive through a holy procession in a small hill town, with the result that the irate locals overturned his car and even threw tomatoes at the Minister himself. The name of the offending place? Assino. The horrified Passamonte finally finds it on the map; clearly the town must be punished and its dangerous insurrectionists routed out. Accordingly, two lorry-loads of Fascist militia descend on sleepy little Assino, whose crime was to want to hold its procession in peace. It is a situation full of tragic possibilities, but Mr. Hunter brings out the comic results just as strongly as the dramatic.