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Brimstone And Treacle (BBC 1976, Denholm Elliott, Michael Kitchen)



In drama Brimstone and Treacle sinister young man Martin (Michael Kitchen) inveigles his way into the home of the Bates family (Denholm Elliott and Patricia Lawrence) who have a brain damaged daughter Pattie (Michelle Newell). Made in 1976 but unbroadcast until 1987 (25 August as part of a Dennis Potter retrospective) is definitely Potters most controversial production.

This is a highly disturbing play that lives long in the memory. Michael Kitchen is superb as the possibly possessed young man, is he the Devil or something else entirely. Of course Potter never paints in shades of black and white. One can easily see why managing director of the BBC at the time, Alasdair Milne, vetoed the play but by the same token it is an important drama that we should be allowed to make up our own minds about.

A film version also with Denholm Elliott and with Sting in the Martin role was released in 1982.

Cast: Denholm Elliott as Mr. Tom Bates; Michael Kitchen as Martin Taylor; Patricia Lawrence as Mrs. Amy Bates; Michelle Newell as Pattie Bates; Paul Williamson as Businessman; Esmond Webb as Man with dog; Patricia Quayle as Woman in street; James Greene as Man in street

Writer: Dennis Potter / Producer: Kenith Trodd

UK / BBC / 1×90 minutes / 1987