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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 […]

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1970s BBC Douglas Livingstone Irene Shubik Nigel Stock Play For Today Writers

Play for Today: I Can’t See My Little Willie

By Simon Farquhar Written by Douglas Livingstone, directed by Alan Clarke and produced by Irene Shubik. Broadcast on BBC1 at 9.20 pm on 19th November 1970. The stately BBC1 continuity announcer Peter Bolgar fell shy of introducing the play by name. However, despite its knavish title, I Can’t See My Little Willie proved to be […]

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1970s Alan Bridges BBC Dennis Potter Directors Play For Today Writers

Play for Today: Traitor

By Joseph Oldham Written by Dennis Potter, directed by Alan Bridges and produced by Graeme McDonald. Broadcast on BBC1 at 9.20 pm on Thursday 14 October 1971. ‘Exiled in Moscow’, declared the front cover of the Radio Times (9-15 October 1971), heralding the return of Play for Today for its second series. The main image […]

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1960s 1970s 1980s Actors BBC BBC Scotland Billy Smart Douglas Camfield Maurice Roëves Obituary Sutherland's Law

Maurice Roëves (1937-2020)

I had the good fortune to interview the actor Maurice Roëves (who has died at the age of 83) on two occasions. Maurice had an extraordinarily prolific 55-year career in film, theatre and especially television, the span and range of which (“beginning with an episode of Doctor Finlay’s Casebook in 1966 and concluding with a […]

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Armchair Theatre BBC Doctor Who Eric Paice Malcolm Hulke Terrance Dicks Writers

Doctor Who and the Communist : the work and politics of Malcolm Hulke

By Michael Herbert ‘In writing you’re always looking for conflict…’ Malcolm Hulke ‘To my mind the basic problem is that writers are by their nature back-room-minded introverts and yet, in the publicity jungle, they find themselves pitted against an army of highly extroverted actors and actresses.  I don’t blame promotion people at all for taking the […]