Episodes: unbanned 1987-1991

These plays were made for Play for Today but banned and not shown until much later. It is not a complete list of unbroadcast Play for Today pieces, just those that were subsequently shown.


(Originally scheduled for 6 April 19761 )
Essay by Cat McKiernan
wr. Dennis Potter
pr. Kenith Trodd
dr. Barry Davis
Brimstone & Treacle was released on DVD by the BBC/2Entertain in 2004

SCUM (27 Jul 1991)

(Originally planned for November 19772 )
wr. Roy Minton
pr. Margaret Matheson
dr. Alan Clarke Essay by David Rolinson; Alan Clarke section.
Scum was released on DVD, as part of The Alan Clarke Collection, by Blue Underground in 2004.

Brimstone & Treacle and Scum were available on BBC Store but it closed on 1 November 2017. Note that some titles that were previously available via BBC Store, and some others, are now available to buy to stream on Amazon Prime Video in the UK.

For researchers interested in these plays and their archival status, we strongly recommend the BBC drama research guide available here from Kaleidoscope.

8 Jun 2015: simplified layout; added producer credits; clarified scheduled dates; added DVD availability; added endnotes.
25 February 2017: checked latest BBC Store release information, adding Brimstone & Treacle and Scum release information; tidied presentation of BBC Store information.
14 October 2020: updated BBC Store status; added Amazon note.
16 October 2020: added link to Alan Clarke section.

  1. For more information, see Dennis Potter, The Art of Invective: Selected Non-Fiction 1953-94 (London: Oberon Books, 2015). Edited by Ian Greaves, David Rolinson and John Williams. 

  2. Newspaper coverage of the filming of the cinema version of Scum – in particular pieces by Cas Cassidy and Alan Road – claim that 5 November was the intended transmission date, but this was a Saturday, and Play for Today’s regular night of transmission at that time was Tuesday – indeed, its replacement, the ultimately award-winning Oy Vay Maria, was transmitted on 8 November. Therefore the date would seem to refer to the ‘week commencing’ 5 November, and the date of the issue of the Radio Times to which details were initially sent. The Programme-as-Completed file from BBC Written Archives gives only its ultimate transmission date, 27 July 1991. See Dave Rolinson, Alan Clarke (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2005), though this endnote text comes from deleted material from it.