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Red Letter Day: Matchfit (S1EP5 ITV Sun 8 Feb 1976, Roddy McMillan, Steven Pacey)

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Red Letter Day Matchfit ITV 1976

In the low key Matchfit football fan Steven Pacey plays Brian who has TB and is spending several months in a sanatorium. Brian develops a friendship with Scottish football manager Billy Marshall who is also struggling with the disease. As their friendship grows Brian learns more about Billy’s complicated home life (he is married but has been having a long term affair and has to juggle the visits of both wife and girlfriend).

Things don’t necessarily end the way you expect them to and there is a mournful voice over from Brian as he slowly gets better but Billy doesn’t. The playing between Steven Pacey as Brian and the great Roddy McMillan as Billy is excellent as is the script by Willis Hall.

Roddy McMillan had a long career from the beginning of the 1950’s often playing up to his Scottishness in series like Para Handy – Master Mariner or period drama serial Redgauntlet but he is probably best remembered for playing copper Choc Minty in Nicholas Ball’s Hazell in the late 1970’s. The lovely Anne Reid plays Billy’s mistress and was just getting back into acting after taking some time out following a decade in Coronation Street as Ken Barlow’s wife Valerie (who was famously killed off by being electrocuted whilst taking a bath.) Steven Pacey, still popping up on our screens in shows such as Doctors and Flack, is best known for playing Del Tarrant in Blake’s 7.

production details
UK / ITV – Granada / 1×50 minute episode / Broadcast Sunday 8 February 1976 at 10.00pm

Series: Red Letter Day Episode 5 of 7

Writer: Willis Hall / Story: Brian Glanville / Production Design: Mike Grimes / Director: Gordon Flemyng

cast
Roddy McMillan as Billy Marshall
Steven Pacey as Brian
Clare Kelly as Betty Marshall
Anne Reid as Sheila Harding
Bobby Pattinson as Ernie Jacks
Joe Holmes as Dave Oliphant
James Ottaway as Jack Grace
Paul Chapman as Doctor Cowley
Angela Bruce as June
Jean Leppard as Vera
Richard Beale as Tommy Stewart
Peggy Ashby as Tea Lady
Patrick McGuigan as Male Nurse