Play for Today: Season 8, Episode 3

Abigail's Party (1 Nov. 1977)

TV Episode  |   |  Drama
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A TV play based on the Hampstead Theatre production. Beverly has invited her new neighbours, Angela and Tony, over for drinks. She has also asked her divorced neighbour, Sue, because Sue's ... See full summary »



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Title: Abigail's Party (01 Nov 1977)

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Episode complete credited cast:
Tim Stern ...
Janine Duvitski ...
John Salthouse ...
Harriet Reynolds ...


A TV play based on the Hampstead Theatre production. Beverly has invited her new neighbours, Angela and Tony, over for drinks. She has also asked her divorced neighbour, Sue, because Sue's fifteen year-old daughter, Abigail, was holding a party in their house. Beverly's husband, Lawrence comes home late from work, just before the guests arrive. The gathering starts off in a stiff insensitive British middle class way with people who do not know each other, until Beverly and Lawrence start sniping at each other. Written by Will Gilbert

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Release Date:

1 November 1977 (UK)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Based on a stage play of the same name produced by Hampstead Theatre. See more »


[Beverly is giving fashion advice to Angela]
Beverly: Now I can see what you've done, Ange - you've just sat down and put on your lipstick. Next time, will you try this for me? Just sit down, relax, and say to yourself "I have very beautiful lips" and I tell you, Ange, you're gonna see the difference! All right?!
See more »


Featured in The Greatest: 100 Greatest TV Characters (2001) See more »


Forever and Ever
Lyrics by Demis Roussos
Sung by Demis Roussos
See more »

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User Reviews

Painful & hilarious & agonising
15 March 1999 | by (San Jose, CA) – See all my reviews

Wow. Abigail's Party - and I am the first person to comment on it? This is certainly an interesting film. In parts it's riotously funny... I mean laugh-out-loud funny... the characters are all obnoxious (except perhaps Sue) with traits that'll make you thank the Lord that they are not your neighbours or friends. The tension just rises and rises through the film... you know it's building up to something big... by the end though it's damn depressing. You hate these characters, you want to shout at them! But the acting is brilliant. Alison Steadman's Beverly full of clichés and tartiness, with a voice that gives you the creeps. Tim Stern (Laurence), the hen-pecked husband, an uptight little weasel and an intellectual snob. Angela (Jane Duvitski), weak and ineffectual, annoying as hell, easily-led, yet comes through the whole thing with more strength than the others. John Salthouse as Tony is a magnificent character, you can feel his anger brewing underneath this quiet exterior. And then there's Susan, played by Harriet Reynolds, whose unseen daughter Abigail is the one having the party. Sue's the one who gets thrown in with all these misfits... poor thing. The setting is claustrophobic, the humour is full on, sometimes though it just gets a little too nasty for words, and leaves a rather bittersweet taste. Funny it may be but it's a bloody painful ride, and though it's looking seriously dated, it's still a fascinating piece of work.

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