Play for Today: Season 14, Episode 4

Z for Zachariah (28 Feb. 1984)

TV Episode  -   -  Drama
6.1
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Based on a book of the same name, depicting events in a Welsh valley after a nuclear holocaust, in which almost everyone has dies, leaving just two families. Eventually just one girl and ... See full summary »

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(screenplay), (novel)
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Title: Z for Zachariah (28 Feb 1984)

Z for Zachariah (28 Feb 1984) on IMDb 6.1/10

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Cast

Episode cast overview:
...
...
David Daker ...
Father
Angela Galbraith ...
Mother
Andrew Hughes ...
Joseph
David Davenport ...
Mr. Johnson
Nickola Sterne ...
Mrs. Johnson
Brett ...
Faro
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Storyline

Based on a book of the same name, depicting events in a Welsh valley after a nuclear holocaust, in which almost everyone has dies, leaving just two families. Eventually just one girl and one man are left, and the majority of the film is about how they cope with the situation and each other. Written by Andrew Hughes <andy@andysoft.demon.co.uk>

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Drama

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28 February 1984 (UK)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Perhaps A Bad Idea To Adapt This Novel For Television
21 September 2004 | by (Isle Of Bute , Scotland) – See all my reviews

This was one of the last dramas from PLAY FOR TODAY and probably hints that the concept had died a natural death . In the 1970s PFD was an often hard hitting drama series with social commentary on British contempary issues . It almost exclusively featured original screenplays from up and coming TV writers who didn't like to pull too many punches about sensibilities .

Z FOR ZACHARIAH is neither an original script being based on a novel by the American writer Robert C O'Brien nor is it contempary since it's set in the near future as a nuclear war breaks out . There's a serious problem in changing the location from America to Wales . You can imagine people in extreme rural areas of the USA surviving the immediate aftermath of a nuclear war without a scratch but would the Brits be so fortunate ? After seeing THREADS ( Broadcast seven months after this was shown ) I doubt it . Likewise the build up to the war is unconvincing compared to Mick Jackson's nuclear holocaust horror show . Okay the start of Z FOR ZACHARIAH is just to set up the story and introduce the heroine but it still jars in its unconvincing nature

The story proper revolves around the heroine Ann Burden living alone in a country house protected by the fall out by an idiosyncratic feature of the valley ( Another unconvincing plot point ) where John Loomis protected by NBC equipment enters the story . Loomis is made ill by the radiation but is nursed back to health by Ann but when Loomis realises they're both alone and that both law and sexual mores have ended his sexual desires begin to take over

In many ways it plays out like " A woman finds herself in danger in a lonely backwoods setting " type of plot which does go against the all too serious dead pan tone of this TV production . It should also be pointed out Loomis is played by Anthony Andrews an actor who made a career out of playing fine and dandy good chaps . He seems seriously miscast as a sexual predator . It's also interesting to note that according to the IMDb Z FOR ZACHARIAH was the first and last production that Anthony Gamer directed

If you want to see something that shows the aftermath of nuclear war then track down a copy of THREADS . If you want to see a classic PLAY FOR TODAY try looking for one of the dramas that were produced in the mid 1970s


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