Play for Today: Season 5, Episode 12

Sunset Across the Bay (20 Feb. 1975)

TV Episode  -   -  Drama
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 49 users  
Reviews: 5 user | 1 critic

A married couple, after a life time of work and bringing up a family, retire and awaken to the fast changing world around them, the habitual nature of their relationship, and what they have left.



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Title: Sunset Across the Bay (20 Feb 1975)

Sunset Across the Bay (20 Feb 1975) on IMDb 7.8/10

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Gabrielle Daye ...
Harry Markham ...
Christine Buckley ...
Woman in flats
Bill Pilkington ...
Woman's husband
Elizabeth Dawn ...
Canteen Lady
Peter Wallis ...
Removal Man
Joe Belcher ...
Albert Modley ...
Betty Alberge ...
Mrs Longstaff
Marjorie Sudell ...
Clifford Kershaw ...
First Man in teabar
Joe Kenyon ...
Second Man in teabar


A married couple, after a life time of work and bringing up a family, retire and awaken to the fast changing world around them, the habitual nature of their relationship, and what they have left.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis







Release Date:

20 February 1975 (UK)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Featured in Alan Bennett at 80: Bennett Meets Hytner (2014) See more »

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User Reviews

Lovely job by Alan Bennett and Stephan Frears
6 January 2013 | by (US) – See all my reviews

This 70 minute film for the BBC follows the quiet story of an older couple as they move from Leeds to the Seaside town of Morecombe after the husband retires.

Both quietly funny, and quite melancholy, the portraits of the couple is full of the kind of lovely, intimate moments and details that give us the feeling we're watching a real couple, abetted by terrific performances by the two leads; Harry Markham and Gabrielle Daye. Both are wonderfully understated, never falling into the trap of playing 'cute old folks'. Then young director Stephen Frears also does a terrific job at quietly modulating the piece, and creating visuals that feel cinematic, in spite of the intentionally claustrophobic nature of the tale.

This marriage is complex – they two are inextricably intertwined, they need each other, but there is also a distance that has come with time and habit. That tension between love and habitual need is dealt with great subtlety.

In his introduction to the piece on the BBC Box Set, Bennett makes it clear that the couple draws much from his real parents, who lived their whole lives in Leeds. He also reveals that Harry Markham, who is so good as the husband, wasn't a professional actor until very late in life, although he did a lot of amateur theater.

A simple, quiet, humorous and touching portrait of growing old in a society where being old can leave you an outsider, and a prisoner of the way you've always done things.

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