UK / BBC One (Play for Today) – Pennies From Heaven / 1×146 minute episode / Broadcast 8 December 1981 at 9.30pm
Writer: Jim Allen / Researchers: Martin Kettle, Brian More, Bernard Simon, Stuart Weir / Costumes: Richard Winter / Production Design: Dick Coles / Producer: Kenith Trodd / Director: Roland Joffe
Series: Play For Today / Season 12 Episode 7
“Listen girl, those people up there have effectively got the heel on the neck of local government”
Incredibly powerful drama United Kingdom (an entry in the BBC’s Play For Today strand) takes us into a crisis in the North East when a local council decides to make a stand against ever more aggressive government spending cuts. The government initially send in a ministry “overlord” but as things get further out of hand and the councillors steal computer tapes to prevent cuts and rent rises being implemented Chief Constable James McBride takes matter into us own hands and organises a police intervention.
Lots of very naturalistic performances, almost feels semi improvised at times and has a documentary feel. Ricky Tomlinson and Val McLane are excellent as the married couple undergoing a huge amount of strain and the whole thing certainly channels into what was going on in the UK under the early years of Thatcher’s government.
United Kingdom can be seen as something of a culmination of author Jim Allen’s work, this former miner always wrote work of a socialist nature most notably with The Lump (from 1967) and 1976’s Days of Hope.
COLIN WELLAND as Chief Constable James McBride
RICKY TOMLINSON as Dennis
VAL McLANE as Kath
BILL PATERSON as Tony Philbin
NORMA DAY as Nora
ANTHONY HEBRON as Antony
PETER KERRIGAN as Peter Connor
ROSEMARY MARTIN as Barbara Sullivan MP
RICHARD SANDS as Kevin
BOBBY HOOPER as Bobby
KEN WILLIAMS as Ron Thompson
ANTHONY BENSON as Arthur Rose
JOHN HARRIS as Alec
TONY SCOGGS as Frank Jepson
SPIKE RAWLINGS as Spike
JULIE FONTAYNE as Julie
GWEN DORAN as Gwen
CY BENSON as Cy
DES YOUNG as Des
ALAN J. BARTLEY as Council Driver
PAUL DONNER as Paul
MIKE MASON as Man With The News
MALCOLM J. WHITE as Unsympathetic Tenant
PETER COPLEY as Commissioner
DAVID BLAKE-KELLY as Home Secretary
DICK McCULLOCH as Acpo Chairman
HARRY HERRING as Keen
FRED PEARSON as Chief Executive
JOE GING as Borough Treasurer
DAVID GLYDER as Assistant Chief Constable
WALTER GEE as Chief Superintendant
MARTIN DALE as Chief Inspector
ART DAVIES as Police Sergeant 1
GEORGE GING as Police Sergeant 2
PAULA MASON as Police Woman
HUGH TURNER, BRYAN ST. JOHN as Detectives
JAMES MACDONALD as Old PC
BRENDAN HEALEY as Young PC
LEON MARTIN, FRANK MARVIN, TONY SHAW as Special Branch Men
PETER ROYAL, TERRY JOYCE as Security Men
KEN McKENZIE, EDDIE ANGEL, GEOFF BATT, LIEL EDWARDS, COLIN HEYWOOD as Reporters
JAN BREACH as Television Interviewer
JEFF MILBURN as Radio interviewer
OLIVE ELLIS as Mrs McBride
HELEN RUSSELL as Conservative Councillor
NICK BREEZE, DANNY BREEZE, WES BREEZE as Musicians
and this just in
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