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P’tang, Yang, Kipperbang (1982, John Albasiny, Abigail Cruttenden)

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In the summer of 1948, 14-year-old Alan (John Albasiny) has three dreams whirling in his head: that the brave post-war world will live in peace; that England’s cricketers will win the Ashes; and that, this summer, her will finally kiss – just kiss – his classmate Ann (Abigail Cruttenden).

Through a quirk of fate, Alan finds he is cast in the school play with Ann. The stage directions stipulate a kiss, so when he is not musing on the fate of England’s cricketers as reported on John Arlott’s radio broadcasts, he is planning just how he will approach this crucial longed-for moment…

Meanwhile, Alan’s classmates Abbo (Mark Brailsford) and Shaz’s (Chris Karallis) quest for romance is of an earthier nature. Leading the adults are Alison Steadman as the English teacher, Miss Land, who is in charge of the young thespians, and Robert Urquhart as the headmaster. And Garry Cooper takes the role of Alan’s confidant, the school groundsman Tommy. There is also inspired use of a John Arlott cricket commentary over some of the action.

The title came from the coded phrase the boys would use when greeting or saying goodbye to each other. Shown on Channel 4’s second night of broadcasting.

production details
UK | Channel 4 – Goldcrest | 80 minutes | 1982

Writer: Jack Rosenthal
Producer: Chris Griffith
Director: Michael Apted

cast
Frances Ruffelle as Eunice
Alison Steadman as Miss Land
Abigail Cruttenden as Ann Lawton
John Albasiny as Alan Duckworth
Maurice Dee as Geoffrey Whitaker
Mark Brailsford as Abbo
Christopher Karallis as Shaz
Robert Urquhart as Headmaster
Peter Dean as Policeman
Garry Cooper as Tommy