IMDb > "Play for Today" Hard Labour (1973)

"Play for Today" Hard Labour (1973)

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7.5/10   180 votes »
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Mike Leigh (deviser)
View company contact information for Hard Labour on IMDbPro.
Original Air Date:
12 March 1973 (Season 3, Episode 20)
A quiet and put-upon house cleaner breaks her silence. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
Another masterful study of the small moments in life. See more (6 total) »


 (Episode Cast) (in credits order) (verified as complete)
Liz Smith ... Mrs. Thornley
Clifford Kershaw ... Jim Thornley
Polly Hemingway ... Ann

Bernard Hill ... Edward

Alison Steadman ... Veronica
Vanessa Harris ... Mrs. Stone
Cyril Varley ... Mr. Stone
Linda Beckett ... Julie

Ben Kingsley ... Naseem
Alan Erasmus ... Barry
Rowena Parr ... June
June Whitaker ... Mrs. Rigby
Paula Tilbrook ... Mrs. Thornley's friend
Keith Washington ... Mr. Shaw
Louis Raynes ... Tallyman
Alan Gerrard ... Greengrocer
Diana Flacks ... Mrs. Rubens
Patrick Durkin ... Frank
Ian East ... Dick
Dennis Barry ... Old Man
Sonny Farrar ... Publican
Surya Kumari ... Sikh Lady
Irene Gawre ... Sister (as Irene Gawne)
Hal Jeayes ... Priest

Episode Crew
Directed by
Mike Leigh 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Mike Leigh  deviser

Produced by
Tony Garnett .... producer
Cinematography by
Tony Pierce-Roberts (photography)
Film Editing by
Christopher Rowlands 
Production Design by
Paul Munting 
Costume Design by
Sally Nieper 
Sound Department
Richard Manton .... sound (as Dick Manton)
Dave Baumber .... dubbing mixer (uncredited)
Other crew
Roy Baker .... production team
Roger Bamford .... production team
Irene East .... production team
Spike Hughes .... production team
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

70 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
UK:PG (2008)

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8 out of 8 people found the following review useful.
Another masterful study of the small moments in life., 9 March 1999
Author: freakus from San Francisco, CA

Like most of Leigh's early works this is all about watching the details of ordinary life. The "plot" as such revolves around a woman (Smith) and the suffering she goes through every day without taking any notice. She bears her hard life impassively and has most likely known nothing else. She is treated miserably by her family and her employer and accepts it as her lot in life as millions of working class women have before her. The ensemble cast is brilliant (watch for a very young Ben Kingsley in a sweet role as a cab driver) and I was particularly impressed with Kershaw's role as the hopeless wreck of a husband.

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