Play for Today

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by the BFI and the films on them.

Moderator: MichaelB

Post Reply
Message
Author
kidc
Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2018 3:23 pm

Play for Today

#1 Post by kidc » Thu Jul 23, 2020 10:29 am

Image
Play for Today: Volume One (4-disc Blu-ray Boxset)

50 years on from its first transmission, the BBC's Play for Today anthology series remains one of British Television's most influential and celebrated achievements. Between 1970 and 1984, plays which combined some of the era's finest writing, acting and directing talents were broadcast direct to living rooms, regularly challenging viewers and pushing the boundaries of the TV drama.

Featuring plays by the likes of Ingmar Bergman, Julia Jones and Colin Welland and featuring a roster of eminent British actors, Play for Today: Volume One brings together seven iconic dramas on Blu-ray for the very first time, in a collection that exemplifies the breadth and brilliance of this groundbreaking series.

The set includes five plays which have been restored from the original negatives held in the BBC archive.

The Plays:
  • The Lie (Written by Ingmar Bergman / Dir. Alan Bridges, 1970)
  • Shakespeare or Bust (Written by Peter Terson / Dir. Brian Parker, 1973)
  • Back of Beyond (Written by Julia Jones, Dir. Desmond Davis, 1974)
  • Passage to England (Written by Leon Griffiths / Dir. John Mackenzie, 1975)
  • Our Flesh and Blood (Written by Mike Stott / Dir. Pedr James, 1977)
  • A Photograph (Written by John Bowen / Dir. John Glenister, 1977)
  • Your Man from Six Counties (Written by Colin Welland / Dir. Barry Davis, 1976)
Special Features:
  • To Be Confirmed
Exciting; had no idea PFT tackled an Ingmar Bergman play. Is this the first time on DVD/blu-ray for these plays?

Calvin
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2011 11:12 am

Re: Play for Today

#2 Post by Calvin » Thu Jul 23, 2020 11:18 am

I'm particularly excited to see A Photograph, which was John Bowen's return to horror after the superb Robin Redbreast.

User avatar
JSC
Joined: Thu May 16, 2013 9:17 am

Re: Play for Today

#3 Post by JSC » Thu Jul 23, 2020 11:31 am

Really excited about this as I've only seen a couple of these (and then only in extremely poor quality). I'm curious about
Back of Beyond as Rachel Roberts appears in a leading part.

beamish14
Joined: Fri May 18, 2018 3:07 pm

Re: Play for Today

#4 Post by beamish14 » Thu Jul 23, 2020 12:47 pm

God, these are going to be amazing. I hope I can finally see stuff like Trevor Griffiths' "Comedians" in a watchable quality.
Its successor series Screen One also had some incredible stuff that is frustratingly elusive outside of archives like the BFI itself
and the Museum of Television and Radio in the States.

beamish14
Joined: Fri May 18, 2018 3:07 pm

Re: Play for Today

#5 Post by beamish14 » Thu Jul 23, 2020 12:49 pm

Also, I wonder if Z for Zachariah, one of the very last ones, can be part of these sets, as it was re-adapted by Hollywood.

User avatar
NABOB OF NOWHERE
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2005 12:30 pm
Location: Brandywine River

Re: Play for Today

#6 Post by NABOB OF NOWHERE » Thu Jul 23, 2020 12:52 pm

This is such a rich field to be ploughed I've been waiting years for a comprehensive release of this series.

User avatar
swo17
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
Location: SLC, UT

Re: Play for Today

#7 Post by swo17 » Thu Jul 23, 2020 12:55 pm

It would take like 40 volumes this size to approach "comprehensive"

User avatar
A man stayed-put
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 9:21 am

Re: Play for Today

#8 Post by A man stayed-put » Thu Jul 23, 2020 1:03 pm

Calvin wrote:
Thu Jul 23, 2020 11:18 am
I'm particularly excited to see A Photograph, which was John Bowen's return to horror after the superb Robin Redbreast.
A Photograph is fantastic; a really unsettling reckoning with the past- much like Robin Redbreast. I saw it a few years ago in ropey shape with a burned-in timecode, so looking forward to revisiting it in better quality.

User avatar
knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: Play for Today

#9 Post by knives » Thu Jul 23, 2020 1:04 pm

swo17 wrote:
Thu Jul 23, 2020 12:55 pm
It would take like 40 volumes this size to approach "comprehensive"
The train sets prove where there's an audience there's a way

User avatar
MichaelB
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:20 pm
Location: Worthing
Contact:

Re: Play for Today

#10 Post by MichaelB » Thu Jul 23, 2020 2:16 pm

But the train sets don't have insanely complex rights clearance challenges on a per-work basis - in virtually all cases, the BFI owns them outright.

User avatar
knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: Play for Today

#11 Post by knives » Thu Jul 23, 2020 2:31 pm

Relax. I was just goofing off.

User avatar
NABOB OF NOWHERE
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2005 12:30 pm
Location: Brandywine River

Re: Play for Today

#12 Post by NABOB OF NOWHERE » Thu Jul 23, 2020 2:39 pm

MichaelB wrote:
Thu Jul 23, 2020 2:16 pm
But the train sets don't have insanely complex rights clearance challenges on a per-work basis - in virtually all cases, the BFI owns them outright.
Is there any weight to the argument that given the political gun held to the BBC's head at present more of its assets may become more readily available or are the rights more complex beyond the BBC's negotiating capability ?

User avatar
What A Disgrace
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 10:34 pm
Contact:

Re: Play for Today

#13 Post by What A Disgrace » Thu Jul 23, 2020 11:32 pm

I hope Ghost Stories for Christmas gets a similar treatment. Next year is the series' 50th anniversary, so maybe...

But this is fantastic, too.

User avatar
MichaelB
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:20 pm
Location: Worthing
Contact:

Re: Play for Today

#14 Post by MichaelB » Fri Oct 16, 2020 12:25 pm

Full specs announced:
Play for Today
Volume 1

4-disc Blu-ray box set released on 26 October 2020 as part of the Play for Today at 50 celebrations


See the trailer here.

Fifty years after its first transmission, the BBC’s Play for Today anthology series remains one of British television’s most influential achievements. Between 1970 and 1984, it brought the UK’s best writing, acting and directing talents into our living rooms, challenging audiences and pushing the boundaries of TV drama. Play for Today Volume 1, released by the BFI on 26 October, brings together seven iconic feature-length dramas from 1970-1977 on Blu-ray for the first time, in a collection that exemplifies the breadth and brilliance of this ground-breaking strand. Amongst other celebratory activity will be a season at BFI Southbank during October and November. The plays in the box set are as follows:

The Lie
Written by Ingmar Bergman | Directed by Alan Bridges | 1970
The great Ingmar Bergman’s first British teleplay foreshadows his better-known miniseries Scenes From a Marriage in its characteristic examination of a disintegrating relationship.

Shakespeare or Bust
Written by Peter Terson | Directed by Brian Parker | 1973
Brian Glover (Kes) features as Bard-loving miner Art, who, along with mates Ern and Abe, make a poignant, comedic canal-boat pilgrimage to Stratford-upon-Avon in a wistful waterways road movie.

Back of Beyond
Written by Julia Jones | Directed by Desmond Davis | 1974
Desmond Davis, whose career spanned Girl With Green Eyes to Clash of the Titans, directs This Sporting Life’s Rachel Roberts as reclusive widow Olwen, befriended by papergirl Rachel with momentous consequences.

A Passage to England
Written by Leon Griffiths | Directed by John Mackenzie | 1975
Uncle and cousin in tow, Anand needs to get to England from Amsterdam and Brit fisherman Onslow is his best hope. The Long Good Friday director John Mackenzie adds grit to the comedy, penned by Minder creator Leon Griffiths.

Your Man From Six Counties
Written by Colin Welland | Directed by Barry Davis | 1976
From the writer of Yanks and Chariots of Fire comes a tale of the Troubles as, after his father’s death, Belfast boy Jimmy heads for his uncle’s farm. But even in Ireland’s far west, his new start is under threat.

Our Flesh and Blood
Written by Mike Stott | Directed by Pedr James | 1977
Alison Steadman (Abigail’s Party) is set on a ‘natural’ birth while leading her husband (Bernard Hill, Boys From the Blackstuff) against an officious establishment in the satirical shape of Richard Briers’ (The Good Life) Mr Smythe.

A Photograph
Written by John Bowen | Directed by John Glenister | 1977
When an inexplicable photograph arrives in the post, Michael Otway’s world is turned upside down. John Stride (The Ice House) and Stephanie Turner (Juliet Bravo) star in what the Daily Mail called ‘grand guignol in the British manner’.

Special features
• 80-page book: Specially commissioned by the BFI, this 80-page book features an overview by John Wyver and a look at the strand’s legacy by Marcus Prince, plus writing on the plays by Rebecca Vick, William Fowler, Josephine Botting, Sukhdev Sandhu, Katie Crosson, Simon McCallum and Vic Pratt.
• Original scripts for all seven plays (PDFs)
• Image gallery

Product details
RRP: £49.99 / Cat. no. BFIB1393 / 15
UK / 1970-1977 / colour / 560 mins / English language, with optional hard-of-hearing subtitles / original aspect ratio 1.33:1 // 3 x BD50 + 1 x BD25: 1080i, 25fps, 1.0 PCM mono audio (48kHz/24-bit)

Post Reply