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1970s BBC John Hopkins Play For Today Writers

Play for Today: A Story to Frighten the Children

By Simon Farquhar Written by John Hopkins, directed by Herbert Wise and produced by Graeme McDonald. Broadcast on BBC1 at 9.25pm on Tuesday 3 February 1976 On a good day, no television playwright could churn up emotional nausea quite as mercilessly as John Hopkins. Originally a floor manager at Granada television, in 1957 his life […]

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1970s 1980s BBC BBC English Regions Drama Events Irene Shubik Ken Trodd Northern Ireland Peter Ansorge Play For Today Richard Eyre Scotland Tara Prem Writers

Play for Today at 50 : Interviews and Presentations

Wednesday 14th and Thursday 15th October 2020 Beginning on BBC1 on Thursday 15 October 1970, and continuing until 1984, Play for Today was one of the most important series ever of British television drama. Running to over 300 individual plays and regularly commanding audiences of several millions, the series won a reputation for artistic experiment […]

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1970s BBC BBC Pebble Mill Billy Smart David Edgar David Rudkin Gangsters Peter Ansorge Tom May

Philip Martin (1938-2020) Part Three: Peter Ansorge on script editing Gangsters (BBC 1976-78), plus contributions from David Edgar and David Rudkin.

 Introduction by Tom May  While Philip Martin’s television drama work might be justifiably termed as non-naturalistic, experimental, postmodernism or popular modernism, his can also simply be described as a truly original voice.[1]   I only encountered Philip near the end of his well-lived life, via the technological apparatus of Zoom I conducted two interviews in the summer […]

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1980s BBC Billy Smart Philip Martin Play For Today The Remainder Man The Unborn Tom May

Philip Martin (1938-2020) Part Two: Philip Martin on The Remainder Man (BBC Play for Today, 1982) and The Unborn (1980)

Philip Martin, who died last December, was the author of two Play for Todays – Gangsters (1975, which subsequently spun off into two BBC series, 1976-78) and The Remainder Man (1982). Forgotten Television Drama pays tribute by publishing an article in three parts, drawn from extensive interviews with Martin conducted by Tom May last year. […]

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1970s BBC BBC drama BBC English Regions Drama BBC Pebble Mill Billy Smart Gangsters Philip Martin Philip Saville Play For Today Tom May

Philip Martin (1938-2020) Part One: Philip Martin on Gangsters (BBC Play for Today, 1975, and series, 1976-78)

Philip Martin, who died last December, was the author of two Play for Todays – Gangsters (1975, which subsequently spun off into two BBC series, 1976-78) and The Remainder Man (1982). Forgotten Television Drama pays tribute by publishing an article in three parts, drawn from extensive interviews with Martin conducted by Tom May last year. […]

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1970s BBC Play For Today Ted Whitehead Writers

Play for Today: The Peddler

By Simon Farquhar Written by E. A. Whitehead, directed by Claude Whatham, produced by Graeme McDonald. Broadcast on BBC1 at 9.25pm on Tuesday 23 March 1976. Through the BBC Plays Department, the Royal Court and the burgeoning fringe, Britain was thrusting some seriously good writers into the spotlight in the 1970s, and it is telling […]

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1970s BBC BBC drama David Mercer Play For Today

Play for Today: The Bankrupt

By Jonathan Owen Written by David Mercer, directed by Christopher Morahan and produced by Graeme McDonald. Broadcast on BBC1 at 9.25pm on Monday 27 November 1972. The Bankrupt was the only play purposely written for Play for Today by the prolific David Mercer. It may seem surprising that this sole bona fide encounter between the […]

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1970s BBC Julia Jones Play For Today

Play for Today: Back of Beyond

By Jon Dear Written by Julia Jones, directed by Desmond Davis and produced by Graeme McDonald. Broadcast on BBC1 at 9.25pm on Thursday 14 November 1974. Less than ten per cent of Plays for Today were written by women and four of those were by Julia Jones, yet she remains a largely neglected writer. A […]

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1970s Angels Are So Few BBC Dennis Potter Only Make Believe Play For Today The Wednesday Play Writers

‘Tender Contempt’: Dennis Potter’s Love-Hate Relationship with Play for Today

by John Cook ‘The television play is virtually the last place on the box where the individual voice and the personal vision is central to the experience.’[1] ‘Play for Today !  Just for today !… Something easy, undemanding.  It’s all part of the commercial !  It’s all “pass the time”‘ ! How do we reconcile […]

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1970s Actors BBC David Edgar Patti Love Play For Today Writers

Play for Today: Baby Love

By Tom May Written by David Edgar, directed by Barry Davis and produced by Kenith Trodd. Broadcast on BBC1 at 9.25pm on Thursday 7 November 1974 David Edgar’s Baby Love is a significant addition to the Play for Today strand; it is an edgy, archetypally ‘underdog’-centred drama that addresses difficult, emotive issues. Directed by Barry […]