The Lotus Eaters (TV series)

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The Lotus Eaters
Lotus Eaters titles.jpg
Opening titles
Genre Drama
Created by Michael J. Bird
Directed by
Theme music composer Stavros Xarhakos
No. of series 2
No. of episodes 15
Producer(s) Anthony Read (Series One) Michael Glynn (Series Two)
Location(s) Agios Nikolaos, Crete
Original network BBC2
Original release 23 April 1972 – 12 August 1973
Followed by Who Pays the Ferryman?

The Lotus Eaters is a BBC television drama made between 1972 and 1973.

The series, written by Michael J. Bird, dealt with the lives of various British expatriates living on the island of Crete and their reasons for being there.


The central characters were a married couple, Erik (Ian Hendry) and Ann Shepherd (Wanda Ventham), who ran a tavern called "Shepherd's Bar".

Ann is revealed in the first episode to be a sleeper agent of British Intelligence, Erik having been a broken-down drunk whom she was made to marry as part of her cover story. Other episodes dealt with the other expats who frequented the bar. The most intriguing character in both series is the Greek police captain, Michael Krasakis (Stefan Gryff). In the second series the British Intelligence aspect is developed, until a clash with Soviet and Chinese agents results in both Ann and Erik having to leave Crete. In the final scene, about to board a plane leaving Heraklion airport, they have a partial reconciliation, since each is the only person the other can trust.


Main cast:

Recurring cast - Series 1 only:

  • James Kerry as Donald Culley (eps. 1, 3, 8-9)
  • Thorley Walters as Major Edward Woolley (eps. 1-4)
  • Sylvia Coleridge as Miriam Woolley (eps. 1-4)
  • Julia Goodman as Kirsten McLuhan (eps. 1-2, 4-5, 7, 9)
  • Martin Howells as Mark Potter (eps. 1-2, 4-5, 7, 9)
  • Karan David as Katerina (eps. 1-6, 8-9)
  • Carol Cleveland as Leigh Mervish (eps. 1-4, 7)
  • Karl Held as Pip Mervish (eps. 1-4, 7)

Recurring cast - Series 2 only:


The Lotus Eaters was filmed in the Cretan resort of Aghios Nikolaos and derived its title from the Lotus Eaters of Greek mythology, where those who ate the fruit of the Lotus tree lost the desire to return home.

The series was also the first of the Mediterranean-based dramas written by Michael J. Bird for the BBC. The others included Who Pays the Ferryman?, also set in Crete, The Aphrodite Inheritance, set in Cyprus, and The Dark Side of the Sun, set in Rhodes.

Theme Tune[edit]

The haunting Greek piece used as the series' theme is Ta Trena Pou Fyghan ("The Trains That Departed"), from the album Hellespont, composed by Stavros Xarchakos (Columbia SX.6135).

Episode list[edit]

Series 1[edit]

Episode no. Title First transmission (UK) Director Writer Cast notes
1 "A Cold Wind from the North" 23 April 1972 Cyril Coke Michael J. Bird Cyd Hayman (Ruth Stewart)
John G. Heller (Franz Zimmerman)
Dora Reisser (Inge Zimmerman)
Frank Duncan (Controller)
Michael Zorba (Vassilakis)
2 "The Present Mrs Clive" 30 April 1972 Douglas Camfield Michael J. Bird Michael McStay (David Clive)
Ann Firbank (Lorna Clive)
Susan Tebbs (Jennifer Neal)
3 "And Hera Had a Sister" 7 May 1972 Douglas Camfield Michael J. Bird Pamela Roland (Sheila Fleming)
Derek Ware (Machin)
Frank Duncan(Controller)
Neville Barber (Clerk of the Court)
Andrew Andreas (Postman)
John Eastham (Fisherman)
4 "A Touch of Home" 14 May 1972 Cyril Coke Michael J. Bird Andreas Markos (Clerk)
5 "Aphrodite" 21 May 1972 David Cunliffe Jack Ronder Suzan Farmer (Julie Johnson)
Ingrid Hafner (Val Griffith)
Gary Waldhorn (Nat)
Ken Wynne (Boat owner)
Tony Boyd (Police Sergeant)
Antonio de Maggio (Policeman)
6 "A Tiger in Bristol Street" 28 May 1972 Cyril Coke David Fisher Alethea Charlton (Monica Turton)
Peter Woodthorpe (Jervis Duncan)
Peter Carlisle (American Tourist)
7 "The Fascinating Couple" 4 June 1972 David Cunliffe David Weir
8 "You Might Get Hurt, Jocasta" 11 June 1972 Douglas Camfield David Weir Anouska Hempel (Jocasta)
Griffith Jones (Alan Fletcher)
Thalia Kouri (Alexia)
Andrew Andreas (Dr. Tsikos)
9 "The Climbing Wave" 18 June 1972 David Cunliffe Michael J. Bird

Series 2[edit]

Episode no. Title First transmission (UK) Director Writer Cast notes
1 "There and Back by Candlelight" 8 July 1973 Cyril Coke Michael J. Bird Frederick Peisley (Doctor)
John Savident (Major Constantinos)
Ian Fairbairn (Richards)
2 "A Kind of Treason" 15 July 1973 Viktors Ritelis Michael J. Bird John Savident (Major Constantinos)
Ian Fairbairn (Richards)
Antony Carrick (Chief Supt. Fowler)
Lucian Janis (Greek Policeman)
3 "A Very Long Spoon" 22 July 1973 Cyril Coke David Weir Andreas Markos (Bar customer)
4 "Beside a Crooked Stile" 29 July 1973 Viktors Ritelis Michael J. Bird Salvin Stewart (Marukakis)
5 "The Well Diggers" 5 August 1973 Cyril Coke Michael J. Bird
6 "And If You Have Time, Lord" 12 August 1973 Viktors Ritelis Michael J. Bird

External links[edit]