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Play for Today, Volume 2 on 3-disc Blu-ray from the BFI in May

23 April 2021

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.

After the release of Play for Today Volume 1 last November, this second volume,released by the BFI brings together another seven legendary dramas from 1972–1979 on Blu-ray for the first time, in a collection that exemplifies the breadth and brilliance of this ground-breaking strand.

Play for Today Volume 2 brings together another great line-up, including The Spongers, Victims of Apartheid, Stocker's Copper, Just a Boys’ Game – and see Billy Connolly in The Elephants’ Graveyard.

Play for Today, Volume 2 Blu-ray cover art

Stocker’s Copper
Written by Tom Clarke | Directed by Jack Gold | 1972
Tensions rise between a striking miner (Bryan Marshall, I Start Counting!) and the policeman billeted in his home (Gareth Thomas) in Tom Clarke and Jack Gold’s retelling of a real-life conflict that erupted at a Cornish clay mine in the early 20th century.

Victims of Apartheid
Written by Tom Clarke | Directed by Stuart Burge | 1978
Having fled to London from a South Africa in the grip of apartheid, George (John Kani, Black Panther) is struggling to adjust to his new life. Haunted by memories of torture, he decides to take drastic action in the fight against his homeland’s repressive regime.

The Spongers
Written by Jim Allen | Directed by Roland Joffé | 1978
Set against the backdrop of the Silver Jubilee, the play depicts a single mother’s struggle to survive in the face of welfare cuts. The combination of acclaimed writer Jim Allen (Raining Stones), director Roland Joffé (The Mission) and producer Tony Garnett (Kes) helped it win the Prix Italia in 1978.

The Elephants’ Graveyard
Written by Peter McDougall | Directed by John Mackenzie | 1976
Whilst their wives believe they are going to their jobs, Bunny (Jon Morrison) and Jody (Billy Connolly) actually spend their days wandering the Scottish hills. After a chance meeting they spend the day drinking, talking about their lives and futures. The first of two plays in this set directed by The Long Good Friday's John Mackenzie.

Just a Boys’ Game
Written by Peter McDougall | Directed by John Mackenzie | 1979
Jake (singer Frankie Miller) has always idolised his now-dying grandfather, an original hard man and something of a living legend. In a day of drinking and fights, Jake begins to see another side to the old man and starts to discover his own value in the process.

Gotcha / Campion’s Interview
Written by Barrie Keeffe (Gotcha), Brian Clark (Campion’s Interview) | Directed by Barry Davis | 1977
An acclaimed double bill exploring the inequality of the education system. In Gotcha, a ‘no-hope’ pupil on his last day holds his teachers hostage, while in Campion’s Interview a headmaster takes on the education authorities on behalf of his pupils. Written by Play for Today regular Brian Clark and The Long Good Friday screenwriter Barrie Keeffe.

Play for Today, Volume 2 will be released on 3-disc Blu-ray in the UK on 17 May 2021 at the RRP of £49.99.


Specially commissioned by the BFI, a 60-page book features a new essay by screenwriter Peter McDougall looking back at the Play for Today strand, plus writing on the plays by Hugh Stoddart, Kaleem Aftab, Rebecca Vick, David Archibald and Lisa Kerrigan.