Thin Ice

Dr Davis hugs Verity
'Dr Davis' (MICHAEL JOHNSON) clutches 'Verity Clarke' (JANINA FAYE) in his arms to save her from falling as she loses balance on the ice.
The Human Jungle


At fourteen, Verity Clark is one of Britain’s leading amateur skaters. As she prepares for a championship event, she tells her mother, a forceful and possessive woman who has worked hard for Verity’s success, that she has had a dream. She was skating at speed when suddenly there was a great hole in the ice and she crashed. Her mother puts it down to nerves.

Her father, a busy man trying to build up a hire car concern against great competition, wishes her luck. He might find time to watch her on television.

At the crowded rink, Verity skates brilliantly. To the final applause of a packed audience, she streaks for the side of the rink, and crashes into a gap where a board had been removed. Ambulance men report that there doesn’t seem to be any damage to Verity’s leg, but she seems to be in great pain. Despite her mother’s pleading, she won’t go back to claim the title she has just won. She can’t face the ice again.

A month later, Verity is still not reacting to physiotherapy. There is no damage, but she complains that she can’t walk, can’t keep her balance.

When Dr Roger Corder sees her, he learns that she has travelled extensively with her mother. Fond of her father, she seems sorry that he should have been left out of it because of his business commitments. When it comes to the accident, Corder wonders why a skater of her experience should have crashed into a hazard of which she must have been aware. He decides to get her to go back to the ice.

Supported by Dr Jimmy Davis, Verity edges on to the rink, the music starts, but she doesn’t move. Even when Dick Elbine, the Canadian professional who manages the rink and taught her to skate, joins her, she can only take a few steps before collapsing. As she is carried off, her father appears with his solicitor. He is suing the rink for negligence.

Worried by the effect of a law suit, Elbine tells Corder that he is certain Verity is lying. Even when he had taken those few steps with her a few days before, he knew that she could skate if she wanted. He feels that she deliberately created the mishap.

When he learns that Verity has asked to go back to her old school, Corder visits her. She still insists that she can’t skate again. He learns, too, that one of the highlights of her time at school was when her father used to fetch her in one of his cars.

At Clark’s garage Dr Corder begins to suspect that Clark is not doing very well. The attendant tells him that business is tough. Clark is not a fit man. His wife is often away abroad at championships with Verity, and not able to help with the garage business.

Corder sees Clark’s solicitor. Is Clark suing the ice-rink because his business is in trouble? No need for that, the solicitor tells him. Clark is comfortably off. But there was the start of a case, a divorce case…

Corder has a long talk with the girl’s father, and arranges that Verity shall come and see him the following day. When she arrives, she finds herself alone with Dick Elbine, her old skating instructor. He’s there, he tells her, because Corder is trying to find him another job. Once the case comes up, he is bound to be fired. He leaves and the girl bursts into tears.

Corder goes in to her, and she tells him the truth. She has overheard her parents arguing, and the awful word ‘divorce’. She felt that she was to blame for causing her mother to travel around with her, thus breaking up the marriage. She had staged the accident so that she would no longer have to be away from home.

Outside, her parents wait. There is now no question of a split. Clark is selling out and will be there when Verity skates again.

Janina Faye and Sally Smith
JANINA FAYE as 'Verity Clarke' with SALLY SMITH as 'Jennifer Corder' have fun with a pair of headphones.

JOHN McLAREN as skating instructor ‘Dick Elbine’, JANINA FAYE as ‘Verity Clarke’ with her mother (JACQUELINE LACEY) and MICHAEL JOHNSON as ‘Dr Jimmy Davis’.