Play for Today: Season 8, Episode 3

Abigail's Party (1 Nov. 1977)

TV Episode  -   -  Drama
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 1,074 users  
Reviews: 22 user | 9 critic

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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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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







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?


When Beverly puts on a record of "Love to Love You, Baby", it is not Donna Summer singing. Her version of the song had been banned by the BBC because it featured "orgasmic moans". Instead the play used a cover version by Clare Torry. See more »


[talking about Demis Roussos]
Laurence: We don't want to listen to that fat Greek caterwauling all night.
See more »


It's Not Unusual
Written by Gordon Mills and Les Reed
Performed by Tom Jones
See more »

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User Reviews

The absent architect.
4 June 2000 | by (Perth, Australia) – See all my reviews

I was most impressed by this film, which is really a theatre play on a similar theme to American Beauty, but I will need some time to mentally recover from it.

Certainly the set design and the characters costumes are magnificent examples of their time and social milieu. The particular combination of these five characters- two relatively recently married dysfunctional 'heterosexual' couples and a sad 'divorcee'- sets up some fascinating tensions in the realm of inter-personal relations. The plot is like a psychotherapy case study about relations between men and women, and the acting is compelling. Alison Steadman's Beverly is grating but consistent and convincing- hard to forget. I could empathise with the anguish felt by her husband Laurence (Tim Stern), a pathetic aspiring social climber. He is justly appalled by Beverly's narcissistic indulgence as an ingratiating and domineering hostess with the aid of his 'financial support'.

Angela (Jane Duvitski) is very well acted, as a spineless sycophant, except for her closing rendition of a leg cramp. Her husband Tony (John Salthouse) is beautifully portrayed, with brewing anger suppressing violence. Susan (Harriet Reynolds) is similarly intriguing, but by the end of the film, it is finally apparent that her part is actually just boring. The most astute and engaging role model is that of Susan's ex-husband, who is happily divorced and by all accounts enjoying himself at a healthy distance away from this suburban collection of sick, sad, and miserable company.

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