Sylvia Syms and Tony Britton in The Birthday Present (1957)

No One Need Know

Simon Scott (Tony Britton) is a top toy salesman who whilst on a business trip to Germany decides to but his wife, Jean (Sylvia Syms), an expensive watch for her birthday. But on returning to Britain he falls foul of Customs who on discovering the watch he hid in a toy charge him with the crime which leads to him being given a 3 month prison sentence. Having hoped to be able to return to his life and his job on his release Simon discovers that won't be the case and will have to rebuild his life.

"The Birthday Present" is one of those British dramas which are kind of hard to review because what you see is what you get. As such we watch as Simon Scott and his wife's Jean's lives get turned upside down when he gets sentenced to 3 months for smuggling in a watch. We see as within the space of 48 hours he has been arrested, tried and spent his first night in prison and had to deal with the humbling experience of not only having to say Sir to the guards but meets a wide variety of people inside including some wealthy fraudsters. But at the same time we see how his young wife copes on the outside especially during those first few days as she tries to keep what has happened from her mum and also Simon's boss.

The thing is that whilst "The Birthday Present" isn't the most complex of dramas it is still fascinating especially when it comes to the rules and regulations of the prison system which means Simon is in the dark over what is going on with his case and how his wife is coping. But that is just part of the drama and we also get to see what happens after this with Simon's snooping work colleagues digging for information on what has happened as he doesn't believe the story that he is off due to illness.

What this all boils down to is that "The Birthday Present" is an engaging drama with a simple but interesting storyline, nice performances whilst ticking over at a nice pace. But at the same time beyond the appeal of the cast there is nothing in this to make it memorable.