Although credited with being "Based on 'Father and Son' by Edmund Gosse", Where Adam Stood is, in Potter's own words, "...in no sense an adaptation. I only took a few pages from it."
Parallel to the Gosse memoir of his father, though, the play deals simultaneously with the relationship between a fundamentalist father and his young, motherless son, as well as, on a much broader canvas, with the collision between fundamentalist religion and the beginnings of a challenging scientific paradigm which appeared to contradict it - Darwin's theory of natural selection and evolution.
The drama was filmed on the Devon coast near Torquay, not far from where Gosse lived. With a literal belief in the Old Testament, Philip Gosse is opposed to the new theories of Charles Darwin, espoused here by biologist Brackley. Assuming "the Lord's will" determines the fate of his ailing son Edmund, Philip Gosse creates a life-threatening situation, even suggesting the illness is God's punishment because of Edmund's desire for a toy ship.