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Play For Today: Spend Spend Spend (BBC-1 1977, Susan Littler, John Duttine)

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True story Spend Spend Spend is set in the early 1960’s and tells the story of Vivien Nicholson who wins a fortune on the pools and just as quickly sets about living the high life and losing it all.

The drama begins with Viv and her husband Keith accepting their pools winning check before this well remembered Jack Rosenthal scripted Play For Today then flashes backwards and forwards to Viv’s glamorous new world of money, money money and the hard times of her upbringing.

Rosenthal is a master hand at the tiller here, keeping things nice and straightforward, the strongest scenes are those with Viv as a young woman, showing how strong she is and why she ended up burnt out and broke the way she did summed up by her performing in a night club singing whilst dressed in a bikini.

A real comic-tragedy with a fabulous central performance from Susan Littler as Viv who on the basis of this should have had a big career but in 1982 died tragically young from cancer at just 33.

production details
UK / BBC-1 / 1×75 minutes / Broadcast 15 March 1977 @ 9.25pm

Writer: Jack Rosenthal / Book: Vivian Nicholson, Stephen Smith / Script Editor: Colin Tucker / Costumes: Amy Roberts / Production Design: Derek Dodd / Director: John Goldschmidt

cast
SUSAN LITTLER as Vivian Nicholson
JOHN DUTTINE as Keith Nicholson
HELEN BECK as Vivian’s Mother
JOE BELCHER as Vivian’s Father
STEPHEN BILL as Matthew
LIZ SMITH as Keith’s Granny
ANNIE HULLEY as Girlfriend
PHILIP JOSEPH as Gary
JOHN LYONS as Public Relations Man
JANE LOWE as Public Relations Girl
PETER MAYOCK as First Reporter
ANDREW BRADFORD as Second Reporter
JACK PLATTS as Taxi Driver
FRED GAUNT as Doctor
JOAN PETERS as First Woman
JOYCE KENNEDY as Second Woman
PETER RUSSELL as First Policeman
GORDON WHARMBY as Second Policeman
BERT OXLEY as Postman
ROBIN BONCEY as Man From the Pools

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