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Play for Today

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Play for Today
The Play for Today logo, seen here in the opening title sequence from 1976
GenreDrama, television plays
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
Original networkBBC 1
Original release1970 –

Play for Today is a British television anthology drama series, produced by the BBC and transmitted on BBC1 from 1970 to 1984. During the run, more than three hundred programmes, featuring original television plays, and adaptations of stage plays and novels, were transmitted. The individual episodes were between fifty and a hundred minutes in duration. A handful of these plays, including Rumpole of the Bailey, subsequently became television series in their own right.


The strand was a successor to The Wednesday Play, the 1960s anthology series, the title being changed when the day of transmission became variable. Some works screened in anthology series' on BBC2, like Willy Russell's Our Day Out (1977), were repeated on BBC1 in the series. The producers of The Wednesday Play, Graeme MacDonald and Irene Shubik, transferred to the new series. Shubik continued with the series until 1973[1] while MacDonald remained with the series until 1977 when he was promoted. Later producers included Margaret Matheson and Richard Eyre (1978–80).

Plays covered all genres. In its time, Play for Today featured contemporary social realist dramas, historical pieces, fantasies, biopics and occasionally science-fiction[2] (The Flipside of Dominick Hide, 1980). Most pieces were written directly for television, but there were also occasional adaptations from other narrative forms, such as novels and stage plays.

Writers who contributed plays to the series included Ian McEwan, John Osborne, Dennis Potter, Stephen Poliakoff, David Hare, Willy Russell, Alan Bleasdale, Arthur Hopcraft, Alan Plater, Graham Reid, David Storey, Andrew Davies, Rhys Adrian and John Hopkins. Several prominent directors also featured, including Stephen Frears, Alan Clarke, Michael Apted, Mike Newell, Roland Joffe, Ken Loach, Lindsay Anderson, and Mike Leigh. Some of the best remembered plays broadcast in the strand include Edna, the Inebriate Woman (1971), The Foxtrot (1971), Home (1972), Bar Mitzvah Boy (1976), Abigail's Party (1977), Blue Remembered Hills (1979) and Just a Boys' Game (1979). Certain other well known plays, including Penda's Fen (1974), Nuts in May (1976), were commissioned by David Rose of the BBC's English Regions Drama department based in Birmingham.

Some installments in the series were spun off into full-blown series. Probably the two best-remembered examples of this are Rumpole of the Bailey, which was produced as a one-off in the Play for Today strand in 1975 and three years later became a series for Thames Television, again with Leo McKern. Alan Bleasdale's The Black Stuff, was a single play broadcast on BBC2 in January 1980, which was developed into Boys from the Blackstuff. It was never part of the Play For Today strand, although it was repeated on BBC1 later that year as a single play.[3][4] Other offshoots were Gangsters, and a single series of science fiction-based plays styled as Play for Tomorrow. Towards the end of the run, three plays set in Northern Ireland were written by Graham Reid. Known as the Billy Plays, they starred Kenneth Branagh as Billy Martin in his first acting role following his graduation from RADA.

There were also some groups of plays transmitted that — for various reasons — did not go out under the Play for Today banner, but which were funded from the same department, used much the same production team and are generally regarded in episode guides and analysis as being part of the Play for Today 'canon'.

Several plays were BAFTA award winners. John Le Mesurier and Patricia Hayes were named Best Actor & Actress respectively for their roles in the 1971 series Traitor and Edna, The Inebriate Woman, the latter also being named Best Drama Production. Celia Johnson was named Best Actress for Mrs. Palfrey At The Claremont, broadcast in 1973. Stocker's Copper (1972), Kisses At Fifty (1973), Bar Mitzvah Boy (1976), Spend, Spend, Spend! (1977), Licking Hitler (1978) and Blue Remembered Hills (1979) were all named Best Single Play by BAFTA.


Two plays were controversially pulled from transmission shortly before broadcast due to concerns over their content: these were Dennis Potter's Brimstone and Treacle in 1976 and Roy Minton's Scum the following year. In the case of Brimstone and Treacle it was due to concerns over the play's depiction of a disabled woman's rape at the hands of a man who may or may not be the devil, and with Scum the worry was its supposed sensationalism of life in a young offenders' institution (then still known as a borstal). Scum and Brimstone and Treacle were eventually transmitted, although in the meantime both had circumvented their withdrawal by being re-made as cinema films.

The series as a whole was viewed with suspicion by rightwing commentators and critics as many of the issues tackled were the subject of political controversy. Of particular note was the criticism of the public expenditure on the Queen's Silver Jubilee in the plays The Price of Coal (1977) and The Spongers (1978).

Demise and legacy

After fourteen seasons and numerous repeats of individual productions, the programme officially ended in 1984, although there was one further series not broadcast in its original name but in its replacement name Screen One and Screen Two in 1985. The general trend in 1980s television production was away from one-off plays and towards a greater concentration on series and serials. When one-offs were produced, such as Film on Four on Channel 4, they tended to be made with a cinematic approach rather than betraying television drama's roots in the theatre that Play for Today and earlier series on both the BBC and ITV had often demonstrated.

Nonetheless, the series is generally remembered as a benchmark of high-quality British television drama, and has become a byword for what many continue to argue was a golden age of British television. In 2000, the British Film Institute produced a poll of industry professionals to determine the 100 Greatest British Television Programmes of the 20th century, and five of the programmes included in the final tally were from Play for Today.

A new programme publicised as a return of Play for Today, but under the working title of The Evening Play, was announced at the beginning of March 2006,[5] but nothing has been heard from it since. Kevin Spacey, film star and director of the Old Vic, in March 2008 told BBC News that he would like to see the return of the show,[6] but the Conservative MP Michael Gove and journalist Mark Lawson expressed disagreement, Gove describing them, at best counter intuitively, as "exercises in viewer patronisation".[7][8] Jan Moir in The Daily Telegraph wrote in support of Spacey, saying "the British loved Play for Today once, and would do so again. A good piece of drama looks at the human condition, and tells us something we should know about ourselves."[9]


Sourced according to the BBC Genome Radio Times archive.[10] Titles that carried the tag Play For Today on the BBC listings for their first or subsequent transmission are included, along with some repeats such as the repeat of the Days of Hope quartet, where the initial broadcast was not branded Play for Today, but the repeat was. Repeats of the individual productions are excluded. All episodes were broadcast on BBC1, except for the delayed broadcast of Scum in 1991 which was broadcast on BBC2.

Original Air Date Title Author(s) Director Lead Actor Notes
Season One. 15-Oct-70 The Long Distance Piano Player Alan Sharp Philip Saville Ray Davies 16mm b&w print
22-Oct-70 The Right Prospectus John Osborne Alan Cooke George Cole
29-Oct-70 The Largest Theatre In The World: The Lie Ingmar Bergman & Paul Britten Austin Alan Bridges Frank Finlay
5-Nov-70 Angels Are So Few Dennis Potter Gareth Davis Tom Bell
12-Nov-70 The Write-Off George Salverson Rudi Dorin Cecil Linder Canadian production. Missing.
19-Nov-70 I Can't See My Little Willie Douglas Livingstone Alan Clarke Nigel Stock Missing except for domestic audio recording.
26-Nov-70 A Distant Thunder Maurice Edelmax James Ferman Adrienne Corri Missing.
3-Dec-70 Hearts And Flowers Peter Nichols Christopher Morahan Anthony Hopkins 16mm b&w print
10-Dec-70 Robin Redbreast John Bowen James MacTaggart Anna Cropper Due to a power outage, the ending of this episode was blacked out in many areas, necessitating a repeat of the full episode on 25-Feb-1971.[11] 16mm b&w print
17-Dec-70 The Hallelujah Handshake Colin Welland Alan Clarke Tony Calvin
7-Jan-71 Alma Mater David Hodson James Ferman Ian Carmichael Missing.
14-Jan-71 Circle Line W. Stephen Gilbert Claude Watham Michael Feast Missing.
21-Jan-71 Hell's Angel David Agnew Alan Cooke Katharine Blake David Agnew is a BBC in-house pen name typically used when multiple writers contributed to a script. Anthony Read was the author commissioned to write the play. Missing.
28-Jan-71 The Piano Julia Jones James Cellan Jones Glyn Owen
4-Feb-71 Billy's Last Stand Barry Hines John Glenister Dudley Foster Missing.
11-Feb-71 The Largest Theatre In The World: The Rainbirds Clive Exton Philip Saville Madge Ryan
18-Feb-71 Reddick Munroe Scott Mervyn Rosenzveig Donald Harron Canadian production. Missing.
11-Mar-71 No Trams To Lime Street Alun Owen (Book), Marty Wilde & Ronnie Scott (Music & Lyrics) Piers Haggard Anthony May Musical. First shown under The Wednesday Play, 18/03/1970.
18-Mar-71 Mad Jack Tom Clarke Jack Gold Michael Jayston First shown under The Wednesday Play, 04/02/1970.
25-Mar-71 Scenes From Family Life Barry Bermange Naomi Capon Denholm Elliott First shown under Plays of Today on BBC2, 25/09/1969.
1-Apr-71 Wind Versus Polygamy Obi Egbuna Naomi Capon Earl Cameron First shown under Theatre 625 15/07/1968 and then The Wednesday Play, 27/05/1970.
8-Apr-71 Playmates Johnny Speight John McGrath Marty Feldman First shown within Double Bill of The Wednesday Play on 26/11/1969.
15-Apr-71 Sovereign's Company Don Shaw Alan Clarke Roland Culver First shown under The Wednesday Play, 22/04/1970.
22-Apr-71 Season Of The Witch Desmond McCarthy & Johnny Byrne Desmond McCarthy Julie Driscoll First shown under The Wednesday Play, 07/01/1970.
29-Apr-71 The Foxtrot Rhys Adrian with Michael Bates Philip Saville Donald Pleasence 16mm b&w print
6-May-71 When The Bough Breaks Tony Parker James Ferman Hannah Gordon
13-May-71 Orkney George Mackay Brown & John McGrath James MacTaggart Maurice Roëves
20-May-71 The Rank And File Jim Allen Ken Loach Peter Kerrigan
27-May-71 The Man In The Sidecar Simon Gray James MacTaggart Gemma Jones Missing.
3-Jun-71 Everybody Say Cheese Douglas Livingstone Alan Clarke Roy Kinnear Missing.
10-Jun-71 The Cellar And The Almond Tree David Mercer Alan Bridges Celia Johnson First shown under The Wednesday Play, 04/03/1970.
17-Jun-71 The Italian Table William Trevor Herbert Wise Leonard Rossiter First shown under The Wednesday Play, 18/02/1970.
24-Jun-71 There is Also Tomorrow Hugo Charteris John Mackenzie Glyn Houston First shown under The Wednesday Play, 19/11/1969.
1-Jul-71 Chariot Of Fire Tony Parker James Ferman Rosemary Leach First shown under The Wednesday Play, 20/05/1970.
Season Two. 14-Oct-71 Traitor Dennis Potter Alan Bridges John Le Mesurier BAFTA Best Actor (John Le Mesurier)
21-Oct-71 Edna, the Inebriate Woman Jeremy Sandford Ted Kotcheff Patricia Hayes BAFTA Best Actress (Patricia Hayes) & Drama Production
28-Oct-71 Evelyn Rhys Adrian Piers Haggard Edward Woodward
4-Nov-71 O Fat White Woman William Trevor Philip Saville Peter Jeffrey
11-Nov-71 Thank You Very Much N. F. Simpson Claude Watham Julian Holloway 16mm b&w print
18-Nov-71 Michael Regan Robert Holles John Gorrie David Burke
25-Nov-71 Skin Deep Michael O'Neill & Jeremy Seabrook Michael Lindsay-Hogg Donald Pleasence Missing.
2-Dec-71 Pal Alun Owen Silvio Narizzano Robin Phillips Missing.
9-Dec-71 The Pigeon Fancier Peter Hankin James Ferman Bert Palmer 16mm b&w print
6-Jan-72 Home David Storey Lindsay Anderson John Gielgud A NET/CBC production. Adapted by the playwright from his original stage play.
13-Jan-72 Still Waters Julia Jones James MacTaggart Margery Mason
20-Jan-72 Stocker's Copper Tom Clarke Jack Gold Bryan Marshall BAFTA Best Single Play
27-Jan-72 The House On Highbury Hill Piers Paul Read John Glenister Colin Farrell Missing.
3-Feb-72 In The Beautiful Caribbean Barry Reckord Philip Saville Calvin Lockhart Missing.
10-Feb-72 Ackerman, Dougall And Harker Don Shaw Ted Kotcheff Martin C. Thurley
17-Feb-72 The Villa Maroc Willis Hall Herbert Wise Thora Hird
24-Feb-72 Cows Howard Barker John Gorrie Alison Leggatt Missing.
1-Jun-72 The Fishing Party Peter Terson Michael Simpson Brian Glover
Season Three. 9-Oct-72 The Reporters Arthur Hopcraft Michael Apted Robert Urquhart
16-Oct-72 A Life Is Forever Tony Parker Alan Clarke Maurice O'Connell Missing.
23-Oct-72 Carson Country Dominic Behan Piers Haggard J. G. Devlin
30-Oct-72 Man Friday Adrian Mitchell James MacTaggart Colin Blakely Missing.
6-Nov-72 Triple Exposure David Halliwell Alan Cooke Alec McCowen
13-Nov-72 Better Than The Movies John Elliot Roy Battersby Bryan Marshall Missing.
20-Nov-72 The General's Day William Trevor John Gorrie Alistair Sim
27-Nov-72 The Bankrupt David Mercer Christopher Morahan Joss Ackland
4-Dec-72 Just Your Luck Peter McDougall Mike Newell Lesley Mackie
11-Dec-72 The Bouncing Boy John McGrath Maurice Hatton Norman Eshley
8-Jan-73 Shakespeare - Or Bust Peter Terson Brian Parker Janet Suzman
15-Jan-73 Land Of Green Ginger Alan Plater Brian Parker Gwen Taylor
22-Jan-73 Kisses At Fifty Colin Welland Michael Apted Bill Maynard BAFTA Best Single Play
29-Jan-73 Highway Robbery Michael O'Neal & Jeremy Seabrook Michael Apted John Collin Missing.
5-Feb-73 Song At Twilight Willis Hall Herbert Wise Colin Blakely Missing.
12-Feb-73 Only Make Believe Dennis Potter Robert Knights Keith Barron
19-Feb-73 For Syliva Or The Air Show John Burrows & John Harding Barry Davis John Burrows Missing.
26-Feb-73 The Operation Roger Smith Roy Battersby George Lazenby
5-Mar-73 Access To The Children William Trevor Philip Saville Joss Ackland
12-Mar-73 Hard Labour Mike Leigh Mike Leigh Liz Smith
19-Mar-73 Man Above Men David Hare Alan Clarke Gwen Watford Missing.
26-Mar-73 Speech Day Barry Hines John Goldschmidt David Smith
14-May-73 Steps Back David Halliwell Brian Parker David Hill
4-Jun-73 Three's One Penelope Mortimer Alistair Reid Hywel Bennett Missing.
11-Jun-73 Edward G - Like The Film Star John Harvey-Flint James Ferman Robert Lang Missing.
18-Jun-73 Blooming Youth Leslie Blair Leslie Blair Philip Jackson
25-Jun-73 The Stretch Julia Jones Peter Dews June Ellis Missing.
2-Jul-73 Making The Play Terence Brady & Charlotte Bingham Michael Hayes James Bolam Missing.
Season Four. 18-Oct-73 Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont Elizabeth Taylor Michael Lindsay-Hogg Celia Johnson Adapted from the novel. BAFTA Best Actress (Celia Johnson)
25-Oct-73 Her Majesty's Pleasure Jimmy O'Connor Barry Davis John Bindon
1-Nov-73 Jack Point Colin Welland Michael Apted Stephen Murray
8-Nov-73 The Emergency Channel John Bowen Robert Knights Richard Pascoe Missing.
15-Nov-73 Mummy And Daddy Douglas Livingstone Barry Davis Neil Wilson Incomplete.
22-Nov-73 Private Practice Peter Hankin Peter Cregeen Priscilla Morgan Missing.
29-Nov-73 Shutdown Tony Perrin John Mackenzie Freddie Fletcher
6-Dec-73 Baby Blues Nemone Lethbridge James MacTaggart Zena Walker
13-Dec-73 Jingle Bells Arthur Hopcraft Claude Whathan Colin Farrell Missing.
17-Jan-74 The Lonely Man's Lover Barry Collins Brian Parker Jan Francis
31-Jan-74 All Good Men Trevor Griffiths Michael Lindsay-Hogg Bill Fraser
7-Feb-74 Easy Go Brian Clark & Ronnie King Michael Tuchner Alun Armstrong
14-Feb-74 Joe's Ark Dennis Potter Alan Bridges Freddie Jones
21-Feb-74 Hot Fat Jack Rosenthal Derek Bennett Richard O'Callaghan Missing.
14-Mar-74 Headmaster John Challen Anthony Page Frank Windsor
21-Mar-74 Penda's Fen David Rudkin Alan Clarke Spencer Banks
28-Mar-74 Pigeon, Hawk Or Dove? Michael Sadler David Rose Iain Cuthbertson
11-Apr-74 Three For The Fancy Peter Terson Matthew Robinson Brian Glover
6-Jun-74 The Cheviot, The Stag And The Black, Black Oil John McGrath John Mackenzie Charles Kearney Adapted from the stage play.
20-Jun-74 Schmoedipus Dennis Potter Barry Davis Anna Cropper
27-Jun-74 The Childhood Friend Piers Paul Read Mike Newell Anthony Hopkins
4-Jul-74 A Follower For Emily Brian Clark Alan Clarke Herbert Ramskill
Season Five. 31-Oct-74 Leeds - United! Colin Welland Roy Battersby Lynne Perrie
7-Nov-74 Baby Love David Edgar Barry Davis Patti Love
14-Nov-74 Back Of Beyond Julia Jones Desmond Davis Rachel Roberts
21-Nov-74 The Levellers Roddy McMillan Moira Armstrong Roddy McMillan
28-Nov-74 Taking Leave Joyce Neary John Mackenzie George Sewell
5-Dec-74 Fugitive Sean Walsh Peter Gill Stephen Rea
12-Dec-74 Eleanor William Trevor Barry Davis Colin Douglas
9-Jan-75 Gangsters Philip Martin Philip Saville Maurice Colbourne Spun off as a series.
16-Jan-75 The After Dinner Game Malcolm Bradbury & Christopher Rigsby Robert Knights Timothy West
23-Jan-75 Breath Elaine Feinstein Matthew Robinson Angela Pleasence
30-Jan-75 The Death Of A Young Man Willy Russell Viktors Ritelis Gary Brown
20-Feb-75 Sunset Across The Bay Alan Bennett Stephen Frears Gabrielle Daye
27-Feb-75 Funny Farm Roy Minton Alan Clarke Tim Preece
6-Mar-75 Goodbye Hugh Whitemore Gavin Millar Jeremy Kemp
13-Mar-75 Just Another Saturday Peter McDougall John Mackenzie John Morrison
24-Apr-75 Child Of Hope John Elliot Graham Evans Leon Gluckman
1-May-75 The Saturday Party Brian Clark Barry Davis Peter Barkworth
8-May-75 Wednesday Love Arthur Hopcraft Michael Apted Lois Daine
15-May-75 The Dandelion Clock Wilson John Haire John Bruce Verona O'Hara Missing.
22-May-75 Brassneck Howard Brenton & David Hare Mike Newell Jeremy Kemp
29-May-75 The Floater Peter Prince Barry Davis Richard Beckinsale
Season Six. 14-Oct-75 Plaintiffs & Defendants Simon Gray Michael Lindsay-Hogg Alan Bates
21-Oct-75 Two Sundays Simon Gray Michael Lindsay-Hogg Alan Bates
28-Oct-75 Moss Bernard Kops Philip Saville Warren Mitchell
4-Nov-75 84 Charing Cross Road Helen Hanff & Hugh Whitemore Mark Cullingham Frank Finlay Adapted from the book.
11-Nov-75 Keep An Eye On Albert Brian Glover Michael Tuchner Susan Tracy
18-Nov-75 Children Of The Sun Michael O'Neill & Jeremy Seabrook Viktors Ritelle Godfrey James Missing.
25-Nov-75 After The Solo John Challen Moira Armstrong Leonard Rossiter
2-Dec-75 Through The Night Trevor Griffiths Michael Lindsay-Hogg Alison Steadman
9-Dec-75 A Passage To England Leon Griffiths John Mackenzie Colin Welland
16-Dec-75 Rumpole Of The Bailey John Mortimer John Gorrie Leo McKern Spun off as a series.
6-Jan-76 The Other Woman Watson Gould Michael Simpson Jane Lapotaire
13-Jan-76 Nuts In May Mike Leigh Mike Leigh Roger Sloman
20-Jan-76 Doran's Box Eric Coltart Matthew Robinson Peter Eyre Exists only as a domestic video recording.
27-Jan-76 Packman's Barn Alick Rowe Chris Menaul John Barrett
3-Feb-76 A Story To Frighten The Children John Hopkins Herbert Wise Geoffrey Palmer
10-Feb-76 The Happy Hunting Ground Tom Hadaway Brian Parker Neil Phillips
17-Feb-76 Jumping Bean Bag Robin Chapman Alan Cooke David Dixon
24-Feb-76 Clay, Smeddum And Greenden Lewis Grassic Gibbon & Bill Craig Moira Armstrong Fulton Mackay
2-Mar-76 Love Letters On Blue Paper Arnold Wesker Waris Hussein Patrick Troughton
9-Mar-76 Willie Rough Bill Bryden Bob McIntosh James Grant Adapted from the stage play.
16-Mar-76 Tiptoe Through The Tulips Beryl Bainbridge Claude Whatham Rosemary Leach
23-Mar-76 The Peddler E. A. Whitehead Claude Whatham John Hurt
30-Mar-76 Early Struggles Peter Prince Stephen Frears Paul Nicholas
6-Apr-76 Double Dare Dennis Potter John Mackenzie Alan Dobie
Season Seven. 14-Sep-76 Bar Mitzvah Boy Jack Rosenthal Michael Tuchner Jeremy Steyn BAFTA Best Single Play
21-Sep-76 Bet Your Life Leslie Blair Leslie Blair Reginald Stewart
28-Sep-76 Rocky Marciano Is Dead Bernard Kops Graham Evans Ron Moody
12-Oct-76 The Elephants' Graveyard Peter McDougall John Mackenzie Billy Connolly
19-Oct-76 Houswive's Choice Roy Kendall Chris Thomson Frances de la Tour
26-Oct-76 Your Man From Six Counties Colin Welland Barry Davis Donal McCann
2-Nov-76 Buffet Rhys Adrian Mike Newell Tony Britton
4-Jan-77 Love On A Gunboat Malcolm Bradbury Robert Knights Stephen Moore
11-Jan-77 The Kiss Of Death Mike Leigh Mike Leigh David Threlfall
18-Jan-77 Our Flesh And Blood Mike Stott Pedr James Bernard Hill
25-Jan-77 Do As I Say Charles Wood Barry Davis Angela Down
15-Mar-77 Spend, Spend, Spend! Jack Rosenthal John Goldschmidt Susan Littler BAFTA Best Single Play
22-Mar-77 A Photograph John Bowen John Glenister John Stride
12-Apr-77 Gotcha / Campion's Interview Barrie Keefe / Brian Clarke Barry Davis Philip Davis Double Bill
19-Apr-77 A Choice For Elvis Jim Allen Jane Howell Stephen Murray
26-Apr-77 The Country Party Brian Clark Barry Davis Peter Barkworth
Season Eight. 18-Oct-77 Stronger Than The Sun Stephen Poliakoff Michael Apted Francesca Annis
25-Oct-77 Come The Revolution Robin Chapman Michael Darlow Vivian Pickles
1-Nov-77 Abigail's Party Mike Leigh Mike Leigh Alison Steadman Adapted from the stage play.
8-Nov-77 Oy Vey Maria Mary O'Malley Richard Loncraine Cheryl Hall
15-Nov-77 Nipper Barrie Keefe Brian Farnham Coral Atkins
22-Nov-77 One Day At A Time Denis Cannan Ronald Wilson Stephanie Cole
29-Nov-77 The Mayor's Charity Henry Livings Mike Newell Thora Hird
5-Dec-77 Catchpenny Twist Stewart Parker Robert Knights Sam Dale
13-Dec-77 Charades Antonia Fraser Roderick Graham Jennifer Hilary
20-Dec-77 The Thin End Of The Wedge Sean McCarthy John Black Tom Marshall
3-Jan-78 Scully's New Year's Eve Alan Bleasdale Michael Simpson Andrew Schofield
10-Jan-78 Licking Hitler David Hare David Hare Kate Nelligan BAFTA Best Single Play
17-Jan-78 Red Shift Alan Garner John Mackenzie Stephen Petcher Adapted from the novel.
24-Jan-78 The Spongers Jim Allen Ronald Joffe Christine Hargreaves
31-Jan-78 Destiny David Edgar Mike Newell Colin Jeavons
7-Feb-78 Our Day Out Willy Russell Pedr James Alun Armstrong First shown as a Play Of The Week on BBC2, 28 December 1977.
14-Feb-78 The After Dinner Joke Caryl Churchill Colin Bucksey Paula Wilcox
18-Apr-78 Days Of Hope: 1916 - Joining Up Jim Allen Ken Loach Paul Copley First shown 11 September 1975.
25-Apr-78 Days Of Hope: 1921 - Every Pit In Britain Is Idle Jim Allen Ken Loach Paul Copley First shown 18 September 1975.
2-May-78 Days Of Hope: 1924 - A Miracle Jim Allen Ken Loach Paul Copley First shown 25 September 1975.
9-May-78 Days Of Hope: 1926 - General Strike Jim Allen Ken Loach Paul Copley First shown 2 October 1975.
1-Aug-78 The Price Of Coal: Meet The People Barry Hines Ken Loach Bobby Knutt First shown 29 March 1977.
8-Aug-78 The Price Of Coal: Back To Reality Barry Hines Ken Loach Bobby Knutt First shown 5 April 1977.
22-Aug-78 The Legion Hall's Bombing Caryl Churchill Roland Joffe David Kelly
Season Nine. 17-Oct-78 Nina Jehane Markham Alan Clarke Jack Shepherd
24-Oct-78 Victims Of Apartheid Tom Clarke Stuart Burge John Kani
31-Oct-78 A Touch Of The Tiny Hacketts John Esmonde & Bob Larbey James Cellan Jones Ray Brooks
7-Nov-78 Dinner At The Sporting Club Leon Griffiths Brian Gibson John Thaw
14-Nov-78 Donal And Sally James Duthie Brian Parker Gerard Kelly
21-Nov-78 Sorry… Vaclav Havel & Vera Blackwell Claude Whatham Michael Crawford
28-Nov-78 Butterflies Don't Count Wally K. Daly Kenneth Ives Frank Mills
5-Dec-78 Soldiers Talking, Cleanly Mike Stott Alan Dossor Bob Mason
12-Dec-78 One Bummer Newsday Andy McSmith Michael Darlow Simon Rouse
2-Jan-79 The Out Of Town Boys Ron Hutchinson Robert Knights Joe Lynch
9-Jan-79 Vampires Dixie Williams John Goldschmidt Peter Moran
16-Jan-79 The Chief Mourner John Elliot David Rose Richard Pasco
23-Jan-79 Waterloo Sunset Barrie Keefe Richard Eyre Queenie Watts
30-Jan-79 Blue Remembered Hills Dennis Potter Brian Gibson Colin Welland BAFTA Best Single Play
5-Feb-79 Who's Who? Mike Leigh Mike Leigh Simon Chandler
13-Feb-79 The Last Window Cleaner Run Hutchinson Bill Craske Patrick Magee
27-Feb-79 Ploughman's Share Douglas Dunn Fiona Cumming Duncan Brewster
6-Mar-79 Degree Of Uncertainty Alma Cullen Paul Annett Jennie Linden
13-Mar-79 Coming Out James Andrew Hall Carol Wiseman Anton Rogers
24-Jul-79 Don't Be Silly Rachel Billington Kenneth Ives Susan Fleetwood
Season Ten. 11-Oct-79 Long Distance Information Neville Smith Stephen Frears Neville Smith
18-Oct-79 Cries From A Watchtower Stephen Lowe Giles Foster Paix Copley
25-Oct-79 Comedians Trevor Griffiths Richard Eyre Bill Fraser Adapted from the stage play.
1-Nov-79 Even Solomon Andrew Taylor Roger Bamford Paul Henley
8-Nov-79 Just A Boys' Game Peter McDougall John Mckenzie Frankie Miller
13-Nov-79 Billy G. F. Newman Charles Stewart Jason Plenderleith
22-Nov-79 Instant Enlightenment Including VAT Andrew Carr John Bruce Simon Callow
29-Nov-79 A Hole In Babylon Jim Hawkins & Horace Ove Horace Ove T-Bone Wilson
6-Dec-79 The Slab Boys John Byrne Bob Hird Gerard Kelly
13-Dec-79 Katie: The Year Of A Child Ian Cullen & John Norton Barry Dams Margaret Kelly
20-Dec-79 The Network Stephen Fagan Derek Lister Anthony Bate
3-Jan-80 Chance Of A Lifetime Robert Holman Giles Foster David Daker
10-Jan-80 Keep Smiling Paul Joyce Paul Joyce Stephen Moore
17-Jan-80 Dreams Of Leaving David Hare David Hare Bill Nighy
24-Jan-80 Thicker Than Water Brian Glover Alan Grint Colin Douglass
31-Jan-80 Murder Rap Michael Hastings Peter Duffell Arthur Lovegrove
14-Feb-80 No Defence Chris Kewbank Clive Halls Illona Linthwaite
21-Feb-80 That Crazy Woman David Hopkins Bill Craske Zena Walker
28-Feb-80 A Gift From Nessus William McIlvanney & Bill Craig James Ormerod Ken Hutchison Adapted from the novel.
6-Mar-80 Kate, The Good Neighbour Peter Ransley John Bruce Rachel Kempson
13-Mar-80 Buses Geoffrey Case Tim King Sebastian Abineri
20-Mar-80 Shadows Of Our Skin Jennifer Johnston & Darek Mahon Jim O'Brien MacRea Clarke
27-Mar-80 Ladies Carol Bunyan Durmuid Lawrence Patsy Rowlands
3-Apr-80 The Vanishing Army Robert Holles Richard Loncraine Bill Paterson
10-Apr-80 Not For The Likes Of Us Gilly Fraser Tim King Pam St. Clement
17-Apr-80 The Executioner Lionel Goldstein Kenneth Ives Paul Rogers
24-Apr-80 The Imitation Game Ian McEwan Richard Eyre Harriet Walter
14-May-80 A Walk In The Forest Jeremy Paul Jack Gold John Alderton
24-Jun-80 On Giant's Shoulders Marjorie Wallace, Michael Robson, William Humble & Anthony Simmons Anthony Simmons Judi Dench
1-Jul-80 Fearless Frank Andrew Davies Colin Bucksey Leonard Rossiter
Season Eleven. 21-Oct-80 Pasmore Richard Eyre & David Storey Richard Eyre Philip Jackson
28-Oct-80 C2H50H David Turner James Cellan Jones Dinsdale Landen
4-Nov-80 The Adventures Of Frank: 1 - Everybody's Fiddling Something John McGrath, Mark Brown, Mike O'Neill & Si Cowe John McGrath Mick Ford Musical
11-Nov-80 The Adventures Of Frank: 2 - Seeds Of Ice John McGrath, Mark Brown, Mike O'Neill & Si Cowe John McGrath Mick Ford Musical
18-Nov-80 Minor Complications Peter Ransley Moira Armstrong Paola Dionisotti
2-Dec-80 Jude Lesley Bruce Bill Craske Dorain Ford
9-Dec-80 The Flipside Of Dominick Hide Jeremy Paul & Alan Gibson Alan Gibson Peter Firth
16-Dec-80 Name For The Day Colin Haydn Evans Bill Bain Richard O'Callaghan
23-Dec-80 Jessie Bryan Forbes Bryan Forbes Nanette Newman
6-Jan-81 Beyond The Pale Les Blair Les Blair Michael Maynard
13-Jan-81 The Muscle Market Alan Bleasdale Alan Dossor Pete Postlethwaite
20-Jan-81 A Brush With Mr. Porter On The Road To El Dorado Don Haworth Baz Taylor Christopher Benjamin
3-Feb-81 The Cause Derek Lister Barry Davis Jimmy Jewel
10-Feb-81 Beloved Emily David Leland & Charles Levinson Alan Clarke Graham Crowden
17-Feb-81 The Kamikaze Ground Staff Reunion Dinner Stewart Parker Baz Taylor Peter Sallis
24-Feb-81 The Union Tony Perrin Ronald Wilson Ian Hogg
3-Mar-81 Sorry Carol Bunyan Alistair Clark Nicholas Ball
10-Mar-81 The Garland H. O. Nazareth & Horace Ove Horace Ove Tariq Yunus
17-Mar-81 The Sin Bin Tony Parker John Gorrie Kenneth Cranham
24-Mar-81 Before Water Lilies Robert Marshall Alan Charlesworth Colin Bruce
31-Mar-81 Bavarian Night Andrew Davies Jack Gold Gawn Grainger
7-Apr-81 The Good Time Girls Alan Clews Gareth Davis Anne Kristen
21-Apr-81 Baby Talk Nigel Williams Derek Lister Susan Littler
28-Apr-81 A Turn For The Worse John Bill Bill Hays Bernard Hill
12-May-81 Psy-Warriors David Leland Alan Clarke Rosalind Ayres
Season Twelve. 20-Oct-81 Country Trevor Griffiths Richard Eyre Leo McKern
27-Oct-81 London Is Drowning Graham Williams Martyn Friend David Neal
3-Nov-81 A Room For The Winter Rose Tremain Jim Goddard Jack Shepherd
17-Nov-81 No Visible Scar Rosemary Davies Moira Armstrong Barbara Flynn
24-Nov-81 Iris In The Traffic, Ruby In The Rain Stewart Parker John Bruce Frances Tomelty
1-Dec-81 Protest Vaclav Havel & Vera Blackwell Alistair Clark Nigel Hawthorne
8-Dec-81 United Kingdom Jim Allen Roland Joffe Colin Welland
15-Dec-81 PQ 17 Roger Milner & Captain Jack Broome Frank Cox Richard Briers
22-Dec-81 The Factory David Hopkins Gerald Blake Leonard Rossiter
5-Jan-82 England's Greens And Peasant Land Rita May Jim Hill Ron Delta
12-Jan-82 A Cotswold Death Tony Bicat Tony Bicat Tony Richardson
19-Jan-82 Under The Skin Janey Preger Tony Smith Jacqueline Tong
26-Jan-82 Commitments Dusty Hughes Richard Wilson Kevin McNally Exists only as a domestic video recording.
2-Feb-82 Life After Death Rachel Billington Anthony Simmons Dorothy Tutin
9-Feb-82 The Silly Season Stephen Mulrine Alex Marshall Derek Anders
16-Feb-82 Too Late To Talk To Billy J. Graham Reid Paul Seed James Ellis
23-Feb-82 Willie's Last Stand Jim Allen Brian Parker Paul Freeman
9-Mar-82 Tishoo Brian Thompson Gerald Blake Paul Daneman
16-Mar-82 Home, Sweet Home Mike Leigh Mike Leigh Timothy Spall
23-Mar-82 A Sudden Wrench Paula Milne Jon Amiel Rosemary Martin
30-Mar-82 Eve Set The Balls Of Corruption Rolling Marcella Evaristi David Maloney Debbie Wheeler
6-Apr-82 Whistling Wally Wally K. Daly Gerald Blake Kenneth Farrington
Season Thirteen. 19-Oct-82 Soft Targets Stephen Poliakoff Charles Sturridge Helen Mirren
26-Oct-82 3 Minute Heroes Leslie Stewart Michael Custance Philip Freeman
2-Nov-82 The Remainder Man Philip Martin Richard Wilson Sheila Hancock
9-Nov-82 Intensive Care Alan Bennett Gavin Millar Alan Bennett
16-Nov-82 A Mother Like Him Frances Galleymore Baz Taylor Perry Fenwick
30-Nov-82 Aliens Alan Clews David Maloney Anthony Higgins
14-Dec-82 Another Flip For Dominick Jeremy Paul & Alan Gibson Alan Gibson Peter Firth
1-Mar-83 Last Love Reg Gadney Nicholas Renton Elizabeth Sellers
8-Mar-83 Gates Of Gold Maurice Leitch Jon Amiel Peter Bayliss
15-Mar-83 Wayne And Albert David Hopkins Sarah Pia Anderson Arthur English
29-Mar-83 Atlantis Peter Terson Les Chatfield Frank Middlemass
19-Apr-83 Shall I Be Mother? Peter Ransley Ronald Wilson Eva Griffith
26-Apr-83 The Falklands Factor Don Shaw Colin Bucksey Donald Pleasence
10-May-83 A Matter Of Choice For Billy Graham Reid Paul Seed Kenneth Branagh
Season Fourteen. 14-Feb-84 Young Shoulders John Wain & Robert Smith Silvio Narizzano David Horovitch
21-Feb-84 A Coming To Terms For Billy Graham Reid Paul Seed Kenneth Branagh
28-Feb-84 Z For Zachariah Anthony Garner Anthony Garner Anthony Andrews Adapted from the novel.
6-Mar-84 Moving On The Edge Rose Tremain Anthony Garner Eleanor Bron
13-Mar-84 Desert Of Lies Howard Brenton Piers Haggard Cherie Lunghi
20-Mar-84 Hard Feelings Doug Lucie Michael Bradwell Frances Barber
27-Mar-84 Under The Hammer Stephen Fagan Richard Wilson Peter Vaughan
3-Apr-84 King Barrie Keefe Tony Smith Thomas Baptiste
10-Apr-84 Rainy Day Women David Pirie Ben Bolt Charles Dance
17-Jul-84 Dog Ends Richard Harris Carol Wiseman Leonard Rossiter
24-Jul-84 The Groundling And The Kite Leonard Preston Peter Jefferies John Duttine
31-Jul-84 The Cry Derek Mahon, Chris Menaul & John Montague Chris Menaul Adrian Dunbar
14-Aug-84 It Could Happen To Anybody Hugh McManus Laurence Moody Ann Scott-Jones
21-Aug-84 Only Children Judy Forrest Michael Rolfe Charlotte Cornwell
28-Aug-84 The Amazing Miss Stella Estelle Leslie Stewart John Davis Elaine Lordan
25-Aug-87 Brimstone And Treacle Dennis Potter Barry Davis Denholm Elliot Postponed from 1976
27-Jul-91 Scum Roy Minton Alan Clarke Ray Winstone Postponed from 1977

Plays for Today on DVD

See also


  1. ^ Irene Shubik "Letters: Eclectic roster on Play for Today", The Guardian, 5 April 2008
  2. ^ Richard Hewett Flipside of Dominick Hide, The (1980), BFI screenonline
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ Gibson, Owen (1 March 2006). "BBC to revive the drama slot that helped Loach and Leigh to fame". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 March 2008.
  6. ^ "Spacey complains over BBC shows". BBC News. 31 March 2008. Retrieved 31 March 2008.
  7. ^ Michael, Gove (7 April 2006). "Take our quiz to find out whether your partner is Just Tory Enough". The Times. Retrieved 10 April 2008.
  8. ^ Mark Lawson "One-hit wonders", The Guardian, 2 April 2008. Retrieved on 9 April 2008.
  9. ^ Moir, Jan (2 April 2008). "Proper plays, please". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 10 April 2008.
  10. ^
  11. ^


External links

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