TV UK TV

Play For Today: Blooming Youth (BBC-1 1973, Philip Jackson, Lydia Lisle)

Blooming Youth

Blooming Youth, an entry in the famed Play For Today strand was an improvised drama about a group of Polytechnic students sharing a house together. Jeff is a world weary cynic, Jim is a nervous studious virgin, Adrian and Jayne are your archetypal student couple in a relationship.

Not a great deal actually happens, the biggest plot line in the piece is towards the end when interloper Bernie makes a play for Jayne which causes him to leave in a hurry. It would definitely have been an eye opener for the audience at the time with its glimpse into a studenty world not really portrayed on TV with any sense of realism. Here the dingy rooms and boredom will be highly familiar to anyone who has experienced it first hand.

Les Blair, like Mike Leigh, was something of an improvisation specialist and here he takes a devisors credit rather than a written by one, he would have provided the cast with the outline of a story and then through an extended rehearsal period they would have worked it into a coherent piece of drama. It’s the kind of device that always works well for this type storyline where it is the interaction between the characters that is the most important thing.

production details
UK / BBC-1 (Play For Today) / 1×75 minute episode / Broadcast 18 June 1973

Devisor and Director: Les Blair / Costumes: Sally Nieper / Production Design: Cynthia Kljuco / Producer: Tony Garnett

cast
PHILIP JACKSON as Jeff
COLIN HIGGINS as Jim
PETER KINLEY as Adrian
LYDIA LISLE as Jayne
PETER JONFIELD as Bernie
CARRIE LEE-BAKER as Julie
RYNAGH O’GRADY as Grainne
PAT BEE as Rebecca
WILLIAM HOYLAND as Chris Green
BRUCE TAYLOR as Mr Gardiner
MAUREEN ASHER as Girl Downstairs
LOUISE NELSON as Waitress
DUCKS DELUXE as The Band