Play for Today: Season 8, Episode 13

Red Shift (17 Jan. 1978)

TV Episode  |   |  Drama
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Three men at three different times in history come to Mow Top hill in search of sanctuary from their troubles. A Roman soldier, a medieval rebel and a 1970's young man. Somehow they seem ... See full summary »



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Title: Red Shift (17 Jan 1978)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Stephen Petcher ...
Stella Tanner ...
Tom's Mother
Bernard Gallagher ...
Tom's Father
Michael Wolf ...
Charles Bolton ...
Thomas Rowley
Myra Frances ...
Madge Rowley
James Hazeldine ...
John Fowler
Freddie Fletcher ...
Thomas Venables
Ben Howard ...
Andrew Byatt ...


Three men at three different times in history come to Mow Top hill in search of sanctuary from their troubles. A Roman soldier, a medieval rebel and a 1970's young man. Somehow they seem linked through a energy within the hill and an axe. Is history doomed to repeat itself or can loving another person free them? Written by Gazhack

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

17 January 1978 (UK)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Mother: Watch your tongue.
Tom: She'd look damned funny if she did.
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User Reviews

Classic BBC 'Play for Today'
21 May 2015 | by (London,United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Made by the BBC back in 1978 this was an adaptation of the book of the same name by Alan Garner. It tells of three men from different periods in history, who all come to the same mystical hill – Mow Top Hill – to rid themselves of their troubles. One is modern day and that means 1978 and one Roman and I think the third is around the time of the English Civil War. A strange, but beautiful hand carved axe seems to be the link.

To say any more would be too much and not enough. There are three perfectly paced stories here and all would stand up to individual scrutiny in their own right. The acting is a bit 'stagey' at times in terms of the dialogue, but you could get away with it in those days. This is very much theatre and as such is an art form – no grubby kitchen sink drama to be worried about. The acting is all very good and the locations are great, I particularly like the trains – some of which are still being used on my line today (I am not joking).

This is one that will keep you guessing right until the end and even if you get it right – you will not want to be. This is how things used to be made; with time, effort and attention to every detail going into it. When you see the production values you would think this was a film and not made for a one off broadcast on television. This is another gem from the archives that we have to thank the BFI for – I just hope they keep digging them out.

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