Play for Today (1970–1984)
7.2/10
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3 user 2 critic

Who's Who 

Slice-of-life look at class divisions among employees at a brokerage house.

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Kane ...
Alan
Joolia Cappleman ...
April
...
Kevin (as Philip Davis)
Adam Norton ...
Giles
...
Nigel
...
Anthony
Catherine Hall ...
Samantha
...
Caroline
Jeffry Wickham ...
Francis (as Jeffrey Wickham)
...
Samya
David Neville ...
Lord Crouchurst
...
Lady Crouchurst
...
Nanny
Francesca Martin ...
Selina
...
Miss Hunt
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Storyline

Slice-of-life look at class divisions among employees of a brokerage house. Alan, with his portrait of the Queen and love of the peerage; his wife April, who raises cats; youthful and pretentious friends Nigel, Giles, and Anthony, who gather for a wine-soaked dinner party with the chatty and risque Samantha and the mousy Caroline; the plummy Lord and Lady Crouchurst, in a spot of bother needing the help of Francis, a senior partner, to assist with the family's cash flow. Alan comes home from work to find Mr. Shakespeare doing a photo shoot of one of April's cats and a wealthy stranger, Miss Hunt, waiting to purchase one. His instincts for sycophantic palaver kick in. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Comedy | Drama

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6 February 1979 (UK)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Featured in Arena: Mike Leigh Making Plays (1982) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A messy and minor work from Mike Leigh
12 February 2014 | by See all my reviews

Mike Leigh is rightfully famous for a couple of instalments he directed for the BBC series Play for Today, namely Nuts in May and Abigail's Party, both of which remain true classics of British comedy. Who's Who is a later entry to this series that Leigh contributed. It's about a group of men who work for a brokerage house. It focuses on three separate groups and events. One involves Alan, a lower middle-class and somewhat anal, social climber obsessed with nobility and a collector of autographs (he even proudly displays the rejection letters from ones he is refused) whose wife April raises pedigree cats. One day he comes home early from work and disturbs his wife as she is in the process of selling a cat to an upper class woman, while a photographer hovers around trying to take cat pictures. Alan's predictable fawning obsession with the rich woman is excruciating, while he bores the photographer by insisting in showing him in detail his tedious autographs and home-made graph of nobility. Elsewhere we have a dinner party hosted by a couple of young toffs, uptight Nigel and his lazy flatmate Giles. They invite two female friends and a sleazy work colleague and the resultant party is terrible. While in the third section, Lord and Lady Crouchurst discuss the financial problems of the firm with a senior executive.

The three segments focus on different class groups who work within the firm - a lower-middle class man who aspires to be of a higher class, a group of upper middle-class youths who are completely vapid and finally the upper class men who run the company. The latter segment is pretty insignificant though, so the balance is firmly on the other two. And the class-based observations aren't necessarily the best aspects about it. It's often the more absurd comic moments that register most. Like a lot of Leigh's work it's very much character-driven as opposed to an actual story. But unlike those two TV classics I mentioned at the beginning, this one suffers from not really being focused enough on anything. As a result it often comes across a little too messy and ad-hoc for its own good and you are left with a feeling of wondering quite what it was trying to achieve. There are still little bits and pieces here and there that are good but overall this has to be considered a minor work from Leigh.


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