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1980s, Black TV Writers, Caryl Phillips, Forgotten Black TV Drama, Lez Cooke, Mustapha Matura

Forgotten Black TV Drama at BFI Southbank: The Hope and the Glory (1984) + Nice (1984)

The Forgotten Black TV Drama season at BFI Southbank ended on Monday 25 February with a double bill of plays from 1984. The Hope and the Glory (BBC2, 25 April 1984) was the first of two television plays by Caryl Phillips to be broadcast in 1984 (the other was The Record, Channel 4, 7 July 1984). It features Rudolph Walker as Sam, a London Transport ticket collector who lives alone and spends his evenings studying law. When he meets Joe (Maurice Denham), a lonely elderly neighbour, the two strike up an unlikely friendship, but that friendship is tested when Joe takes Sam along to his local club. Caryl Phillips is perhaps best known as a novelist, but he also wrote the screenplay for the Film on Four, Playing Away (1989), and adapted his first novel, The Final Passage, as a two-part television drama for Channel Four in 1996.

Nice (C4, 27 November 1984), by the Trinidadian writer Mustapha Matura, was shown as part of a series called Here and Now on Four and features Norman Beaton delivering a hilarious, bitter-sweet half-hour monologue about life in the ‘Mother Country’. Originally staged in the theatre this was screened on Channel Four between the second and third series of the black sitcom No Problem! (C4, 1983-85) which Matura wrote with Farrukh Dhondy. The following year Matura adapted his stage play, Playboy of the West Indies, for television and devised the legal drama series Black Silk with Rudy Narayan, both for the BBC.


Norman Beaton in Nice (1984)

Nice is one of several programmes from the Forgotten Black TV Drama season that are available to view for free in BFI Mediatheques around the UK. Also available are: The Day of the Fox (1961), You in Your Small Corner (1962), The Museum Attendant (1973) and Carbon Copy (1975).


Lez Cooke (Season Co-Curator)


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