Episodes: unofficial 1980, 1983-85

These plays were not broadcast under the Play for Today banner but have been considered as part of the cycle to varying degrees. Some were commissioned for the strand but not billed as such. The Black Stuff was never billed as a Play for Today and did not even appear on the same channel as Play for Today. Some of the later plays were commissioned for Play for Today but appeared after that strand had ended.1 Others can be argued about!

THE BLACK STUFF (2 Jan 1980 – BBC2)

wr. Alan Bleasdale
pr. David Rose
dr. Jim Goddard
(The Black Stuff was never billed as a Play for Today, and indeed debuted on BBC2, not in the BBC1 Play for Today strand, but it is often mentioned in press pieces about Play for Today and was repeated on BBC4 on 17 November 2020 as part of a Play for Today repeat run.)
The Black Stuff was released on DVD by the BBC in 2003 (as part of Boys from the Blackstuff)

BEING NORMAL (27 Jul 1983)

wr. Brian Phelan
pr. Alan Shallcross
dr. Peter Smith

GUNFIGHT AT THE JOE KAYE CORRAL (3 Aug 1983)

wr. Alan Shinwell
pr. Bob McIntosh
dr. Ken Grieve

A RING OF KEYS (10 Aug 1983)

wr. Frank Ash
pr. Bob McIntosh
dr. Baz Taylor

BAZAAR AND RUMMAGE (17 Aug 1983)

wr. Sue Townsend
pr. Terry Coles
dr. Richard Stroud

FLOATING OFF (24 Aug 1983)

wr. Stephen Davis
pr. Erika Bond
dr. Nick Renton

STAN’S LAST GAME (25 Oct 1983)

wr. Willis Hall
pr. Terry Coles
dr. Gavin Millar

SUBMARINERS (1 Nov 1983)

wr. Tom McLenaghan
pr. Innes Lloyd
dr. Paul Seed

MARTIN LUTHER – HERETIC (8 Nov 1983)

wr. William Nicholson
pr. David M. Thompson
dr. Norman Stone

ONE OF OURSELVES (22 Nov 1983)

wr. William Trevor
pr. Kenith Trodd
dr. Pat O’ Connor

AN ENGLISHMAN ABROAD (29 Nov 1983)

wr. Alan Bennett
pr. Innes Lloyd
dr. John Schlesinger
An Englishman Abroad was released on DVD by the BBC/2Entertain in 2009 (as part of Alan Bennett at the BBC)

THE AERODROME (13 Dec 1983)

wr. Robin Chapman (book Rex Warner)
pr. Kenith Trodd
dr. Giles Foster

ORWELL ON JURA (20 Dec 1983)

wr. Alan Plater
pr. Norman McCandlish
dr. John Glenister

TERRA NOVA (13 Nov 1984)

wr. John Bruce (story Ted Tally)
pr. Innes Lloyd
dr. John Bruce

THE LONG MARCH (20 Nov 1984)

wr. Anne Devlin
pr. Keith Williams
dr. Chris Parr

PUNTERS (27 Nov 1984)

wr. Stephen Wakelam
pr. Andrée Molyneux
dr. Chris Menaul

STARS OF THE ROLLER STATE DISCO (4 Dec 1984)

wr. Michael Hastings
pr. Michael Wearing
dr. Alan Clarke Essay by David Rolinson; Alan Clarke section.
Stars of the Roller State Disco was released on DVD and blu ray by the BFI in 2016 (as part of Alan Clarke at the BBC)

TALK TO ME (11 Dec 1984)

wr. William Humble
pr. Innes Lloyd
dr. Tony Smith

MORE LIVES THAN ONE (18 Dec 1984)

wr. John Peacock
pr. Alan Shallcross
dr. Michael Darlow

THE LAST EVENSONG (8 Jan 1985)

wr. Trevor Baxter
pr. Alan Shallcross
dr. Jon Amiel

BIRD FANCIER (15 Jan 1985)

wr. Mal Middleton
pr. Terry Coles
dr. Bill Hays

THE EXERCISE (22 Jan 1985)

wr. Tim Rose Price
pr. Roger Pine
dr. Gareth Davies

FOUR DAYS IN JULY (29 Jan 1985)

wr. Mike Leigh
pr. Kenith Trodd
dr. Mike Leigh
Four Days in July was released on DVD, as part of Mike Leigh at the BBC, by the BBC/2Entertain in 2009

BRIGADISTA (5 Feb 1985)

wr. Terence Hodkinson
pr. Bob McIntosh
dr. Chris Lovett

The Black Stuff and Four Days in July 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.

Updates:
30 October 2015: corrected titles: ‘Kay’ to ‘Kaye’ and ‘Ring of Keys’ to ‘A Ring of Keys’.
8 Jun 2015: simplified layout; added producer credits; checked archival status; added DVD availability; minor text corrections.
25 February 2017: added The Black Stuff to clarify its status; checked latest BBC Store release information, adding The Black Stuff release information; amended opening paragraph to reflect changes; amended page title to include 1980 in order to reflect changes.
18 March 2017: updated Four Days in July online release information.
14 October 2020: updated DVD/blu ray release information; updated BBC Store status; added Amazon note.
16 October 2020: added link to Alan Clarke section.
19 November 2020: added reference to 17 November 2020 repeat of The Black Stuff. Moved text from the page’s introduction to the listing for The Black Stuff to accompany that information; adjusted page’s introduction as a result; fixed italicisation coding error.

  1. There are various forms of evidence for this, which we will consider when covering each play. But as an example: Kaleidoscope note the existence of the first edit of Terra Nova, and observe that “The VT clock says this play was made for ‘Play for Today’.” Simon Coward, Richard Down and Chris Perry (editors), The Kaleidoscope British Television Drama Research Guide 1936-2011 (Dudley: Kaleidoscope Publishing, 2011), first combined digital edition, p. 2504. []