Play for Today

Brimstone and Treacle (25 Aug. 1987)

TV Episode  -   -  Drama
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 166 users  
Reviews: 7 user | 2 critic

The Bates sadly care for their severely disabled daughter Pattie. Martin arrives at their door claiming to be her college friend. He charms them into accepting him as a lodger and carer for Pattie. But Martin is not all he seems.

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Title: Brimstone and Treacle (25 Aug 1987)

Brimstone and Treacle (25 Aug 1987) on IMDb 7.8/10

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Cast

Episode complete credited cast:
...
...
Patricia Lawrence ...
Michelle Newell ...
Paul Williamson ...
Businessman
Esmond Webb ...
Man with dog
Patricia Quayle ...
Woman in street
...
Man in street
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Storyline

The Bates sadly care for their severely disabled daughter Pattie. Martin arrives at their door claiming to be her college friend. He charms them into accepting him as a lodger and carer for Pattie. But Martin is not all he seems.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

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Release Date:

25 August 1987 (UK)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

There are two M. C. Escher posters in Patricia's room - 'Three Worlds' and 'Dream'. See more »

Quotes

Martin: Eggs. You have any eggs?
Mrs. Bates: Eggs?
Martin: Oval spheroids deposited through the rectum of the domestic fowl.
See more »

Connections

Remade as Brimstone & Treacle (1982) See more »

Soundtracks

That Old Black Magic
(uncredited)
Music by Harold Arlen and lyrics by Johnny Mercer
Performer unknown
Heard when Martin first goes to Patricia's room and later when Martin pushes her in the wheelchair.
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User Reviews

A shock to the system!
9 October 2002 | by (England) – See all my reviews

Dennis Potter's most controversial work by a country mile, BRIMSTONE AND TREACLE was a BBC Play For Today production that tackled an almost unthinkable subject. A bickering, middle-aged couple with a brain-damaged daughter (Pattie) are visited one typically fraught evening by an overbearingly polite young man named Martin, who claims to be a friend of Pattie's. The mother is thoroughly charmed by the stranger, the father is less convinced, but - in desperate need of some respite from the round-the-clock attention their daughter requires - they allow Martin to stay with them anyway. Trouble is, Martin is an extremely disturbed individual who either is - or believes himself to be - the Devil incarnate, and takes to raping Pattie when her parents aren't at home.

A very bleak, disturbing and claustrophobic piece, bolstered by excellent performances and one of Potter's darkest ever scripts (particularly in these politically-correct times), BRIMSTONE AND TREACLE was banned by the BBC in the mid-seventies and remained unscreened until over a decade later. Despite the low-budget production and some very seventies camera trickery, the play has lost nothing of its ability to shock and unsettle, and will rightly affect everyone who approaches it seriously. Potter saves the biggest surprise until the very end, and it could be this sudden, shocking curve-ball thrown to an audience who thought they knew all the characters inside out that was the strongest deciding factor in the BBC's eleven-year-ban on one of their toughest masterpieces.


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