Interview with the Torrance Family


"Interview with the Torrance Family," Broadcast in the BBC programme, Under the Influence (1973).


"Interview with the Torrance Family." Broadcast in the BBC programme, Under the Influence. 1973.

Publication life cycle / General notes

In a 1973 episode of a program called “Under the Influence,” the BBC interviewed the Torrance family. The host was Donald B. MacLeod.

Participants included all six siblings:

  • Mary Monlin Torrance Wallace, 1912-1988
  • Thomas F. Torrance, 1913-2007
  • Grace Brownlee Torrance Walker, 1915-2011
  • Margaret Ramsey Torrance MacKenzie, 1917-?
  • James B. Torrance, 1923-2003
  • David W. Torrance, 1924- 

Duration: 28:34 mins. Broadcast date: March 15, 1973.

Contact the BBC if interested in licensing for commercial rebroadcast ( The recording is not available to scholars for research purposes. 


Programme notes, kindly provided by the BBC:


The Torrance family remember life in a China Mission in the 1920s & 30s and reflect upon the influences their home life has had upon them. With particular discussion of the dangers and how their faith helped.

Programme breakdown

Memory of seeing a baby girl left out to die. Dangerous time – drew faith from their parents. Anecdote about the time a prayer for change of wind during a fire was answered. Missionaries were often in danger of their lives.

Had to be escorted to school. Chinese life. Girls were often sold in slave markets. Father's personality and influence. Originally from Lanarkshire. A great Christian pioneer. Atmosphere in the home. Dangers of China. Finally thrown out by Chiang Kai Shek. Escaped by a hazardous voyage down the Yangtze. Sustained by their faith.

Mrs Torrance and the children lived in Edinburgh, Mr Torrance returned to China. Mother's struggle to bring them up.

Tom Torrance: always felt he too wanted to be missionary in Tibet. How they feel about criticism of missionary work. Feel their father did much good on the practical side of life in China. Mrs Mackenzie talks about her work in Africa. Feels whole world is a missionary field, including Britain. Three boys became ministers. Three girls married ministers. Strength of family bond and effectiveness of prayer.

Taking Part:

Mrs Mary Wallace, Mrs Grace Walker, Rev. James Torrance, Rev. David Torrance, Mrs Margaret Mackenzie and Professor Thomas Torrance

TORRANCE James (speaker)

TORRANCE David (speaker)

TORRANCE Thomas Forsyth (speaker)

WALLACE Mary (speaker)

WALKER Grace (speaker)

MACKENZIE Margaret (speaker)

MACLEOD Donald B (interviewer)