BBC Play of the Month (1965–1983)
5 user 1 critic

The Millionairess 

Epifania is the richest woman in England. She's also strong-willed, highly intelligent, fiercely determined and an expert at Judo, which makes her hard to live with. She's also married, but... See full summary »


William Slater


George Bernard Shaw (play) (as Bernard Shaw)




Episode complete credited cast:
Maggie Smith ... Epifania
Peter Barkworth ... Julius Sagamore
James Villiers ... Alastair Fitzfassenden
Charles Gray ... Adrian Blenderbland
Priscilla Morgan ... Patricia Smith
Tom Baker ... Egyptian Doctor
Donald Pickering ... Hotel Manager
John Garrie ... The Man
Avril Angers Avril Angers ... The Woman


Epifania is the richest woman in England. She's also strong-willed, highly intelligent, fiercely determined and an expert at Judo, which makes her hard to live with. She's also married, but her husband is now in love with another woman. She's also seeing another man socially, but he seems to be more interested in his food than her. Will or can this poor little rich girl ever find true happiness? A chance meeting with an Egyptian doctor may prove interesting... Written by Tony Scheinman

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Did You Know?


This production was significant in winning Tom Baker the role of the Fourth Doctor in Doctor Who (1963). Having worked with him on this, the director, William Slater, later recommended him to Doctor Who (1963) producer Barry Letts as a suitable replacement for Jon Pertwee. See more »


Epifania: Oh, bother Allah! What did you do with it?
[referring to the 150 pounds she gave him]
Dr. Ahmed el Kabir: Allah is never bothered.
See more »


Version of The Millionairess (1960) See more »

User Reviews

Shaw's feminist treatise
16 November 2017 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Watching The Millionairess my mind wandered back to a few other plays by George Bernard Shaw and the one that came closest to this is Major Barbara. Many of the ideas that lead character Epifania has could have come from the mouth of Edward Undershaft.

But being a woman this puts a whole different dimension to it. Shaw was born during the Victorian Age when women were put on a pedestal, but had few legal rights on either side of the pond. Our Creator/Deity may have made women different, but he did endow the same percentage of them with the same quotient of intelligence. I always thought that the crux of feminism was that group of the female population who did not like the roles assigned them, had the intelligence to see it and the will to do something about it.

Maggie Smith is such a woman as Epifania. She's got a husband in James Villiers who is cheating with Patricia Smith. That's OK because she's got the indolent Charles Gray on the side. But when he makes a crack about her sainted father she loses it good and Gray goes down a flight of stairs. More hurt in the dignity than anything else.

The nearest doctor around is an Egyptian immigrant played by Tom Baker and the two are intrigued by each other and put themselves to a money making test. It's what happens in the testing and with each that The Millionairess tells its story.

When The Millionairess opened it must have shocked British sensibilities. Just the idea of one of their wealthiest female citizens kanoodling with a Moslem doctor would have made the most complacent soul get alert. Just remember at the close of the last century how some felt about Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed. But Maggie Smith knows her mind.

Maggie Smith leads a fine ensemble cast in this production of The Millionairess. She is surely the daughter Edward Undershaft the self made munitions tycoon would like to have had.

Who would have thought George Bernard Shaw was a secret feminist?

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Release Date:

25 September 1972 (UK) See more »

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Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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