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.

Director:

Writer:

Reviews
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A strange young man has a sinister effect on the family of a middle-aged writer.

Director: Richard Loncraine
Stars: Sting, Denholm Elliott, Joan Plowright
Drama | Musical | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  

Tormented and bedridden by a debilitating disease, a mystery writer relives his detective stories through his imagination and hallucinations.

Stars: Michael Gambon, Patrick Malahide, Joanne Whalley
Pennies from Heaven (TV Mini-Series 1978)
Drama | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

Arthur, a sheet music salesman, has an ear for the hit tunes, but nobody will trust it. And his imagination often bursts into full song, building musical numbers around the greatest ... See full summary »

Stars: Cheryl Campbell, Bob Hoskins, Gemma Craven
Lipstick on Your Collar (TV Mini-Series 1993)
Drama | Musical | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

During the Suez Crisis of 1956, two young clerks at the stuffy Foreign Office in Whitehall display little interest in the decline of the British Empire. To their eyes, it can hardly compete... See full summary »

Stars: Giles Thomas, Ewan McGregor, Louise Germaine
Christabel (TV Mini-Series 1988)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

An English girl marries a German lawyer in the 1930s and they try to live as normal a life as they can in Hitler's Germany. When Allied bombs start falling on German cities, Christabel ... See full summary »

Stars: Elizabeth Hurley, Stephen Dillane, Nigel Le Vaillant
The Hanging Gale (TV Series 1995)
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The four brothers of the Phelan family battle to save their farm and their family from the ravages of the Irish Potato Famine in 1846, and from an English land agent who takes a dislike to ... See full summary »

Stars: Joe McGann, Mark McGann, Paul McGann
Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

During a train ride, an anxiety attack leads middle-aged illustrator John into an identity crisis. As his marital problems merge and blur into his fantasy life with prostitutes and call ... See full summary »

Director: Dennis Potter
Stars: Alan Bates, Gina Bellman, Frances Barber
Dreamchild (1985)
Biography | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Exploring the somewhat darker and more mysterious side of the Lewis Carroll's classic book, the movie follows Alice Liddell (the book's inspiration) as an old woman who is haunted by the ... See full summary »

Director: Gavin Millar
Stars: Coral Browne, Ian Holm, Peter Gallagher
The Mayor of Casterbridge (TV Mini-Series 1978)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

In a drunken and disheartened state, Michael Henchard sells his wife at a fair. When he becomes sober again he realises what he has done, and though unable to find his wife and child, ... See full summary »

Stars: Alan Bates, Janet Maw, Jack Galloway
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

Francis Urquhart, the unscrupulous but cunning Conservative Prime Minister, has his survival threatened by a liberal monarch and an upcoming General Election.

Stars: Ian Richardson, Michael Kitchen, Kitty Aldridge
Tender Is the Night (TV Mini-Series 1985)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel about how the rich languoring on the Riviera in the 1920's are slowly drawn into the coming depression is once again filmed with Peter Strauss, Mary Steenburgen,... See full summary »

Stars: Peter Strauss, Mary Steenburgen, Sean Young
Cold Lazarus (TV Mini-Series 1996)
Drama | Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Dr. Emma Porlock and her colleagues, attempting to unlock the secrets of human memory for the Masdon drug empire, get a cryogenically stored 400-year-old human head to project its memories ... See full summary »

Stars: Albert Finney, Ciarán Hinds, Frances de la Tour
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Mr. Tom Bates
...
Martin Taylor
Patricia Lawrence ...
Mrs. Amy Bates
Michelle Newell ...
Pattie Bates
Paul Williamson ...
Businessman
Esmond Webb ...
Man with dog
Patricia Quayle ...
Woman in street
...
Man in street
Edit

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

Edit

Details

Release Date:

25 August 1987 (UK)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The poem Martin recites when he first sees Patricia ("I will not fail to meet thee in that hollow vale ...") is "Exequy on His Wife" by Henry King, Bishop of Chichester. 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.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

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.


16 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss Brimstone and Treacle (1987) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?