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"State of Play"
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"State of Play" (2003) More at IMDbPro »TV mini-series 2003-

State of Play: :  -- A thriller set in London, in which a politician's life becomes increasingly complex as his research assistant is found dead on the London Underground and, in a seemingly unrelated incident, a teenage drug dealer is shot dead.


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8.6/10   6,746 votes »
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Release Date:
18 May 2003 (UK) See more »
Sometimes you have to read between the lines
A thriller set in London, in which a politician's life becomes increasingly complex as his research assistant is found dead on the London Underground and, in a seemingly unrelated incident, a teenage pickpocket is shot dead.
16 wins & 10 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
What A Good Thriller Ought To Be See more (31 total) »


 (Series Cast Summary - 24 of 32)

John Simm ... Cal McCaffrey (6 episodes, 2003)

Kelly Macdonald ... Della Smith (6 episodes, 2003)

Bill Nighy ... Cameron Foster (6 episodes, 2003)

Philip Glenister ... DCI William Bell (6 episodes, 2003)

David Morrissey ... Stephen Collins (6 episodes, 2003)

James McAvoy ... Dan Foster (6 episodes, 2003)
Amelia Bullmore ... Helen Preger (6 episodes, 2003)

Benedict Wong ... Pete Cheng (6 episodes, 2003)

Rebekah Staton ... Liz (6 episodes, 2003)

Polly Walker ... Anne Collins (6 episodes, 2003)

Marc Warren ... Dominic Foy (5 episodes, 2003)

Michael Feast ... Andrew Wilson (5 episodes, 2003)

Johann Myers ... Sonny Stagg (5 episodes, 2003)

Tom Burke ... Syd (4 episodes, 2003)
Maureen Hibbert ... Olicia Stagg (4 episodes, 2003)
James Laurenson ... George Fergus (4 episodes, 2003)

Deborah Findlay ... Greer Thornton (4 episodes, 2003)

Christopher Simpson ... Adam Greene (4 episodes, 2003)

Sean Gilder ... Sergeant 'Chewy' Cheweski / ... (3 episodes, 2003)

Shauna Macdonald ... Sonia Baker (3 episodes, 2003)

Rebecca Ryan ... Karen Collins (3 episodes, 2003)
Charlie Ryan ... Louis Collins (3 episodes, 2003)
Stuart Goodwin ... Robert Bingham (3 episodes, 2003)
Patrick Brennan ... Neil Woods (3 episodes, 2003)

Series Directed by
David Yates (6 episodes, 2003)
Series Writing credits
Paul Abbott (6 episodes, 2003)

Series Produced by
Hilary Bevan Jones .... producer (6 episodes, 2003)
Gareth Neame .... executive producer (6 episodes, 2003)
Paul Frift .... line producer (5 episodes, 2003)
Laura Mackie .... executive producer (3 episodes, 2003)
Paul Abbott .... executive producer (2 episodes, 2003)
Series Original Music by
Nicholas Hooper (6 episodes, 2003)
Series Cinematography by
Chris Seager (6 episodes, 2003)
Series Film Editing by
Mark Day (6 episodes, 2003)
Series Casting by
Wendy Brazington (6 episodes, 2003)
Series Production Design by
Donal Woods (6 episodes, 2003)
Series Art Direction by
Charmian Adams (6 episodes, 2003)
Series Costume Design by
Claire Anderson (6 episodes, 2003)
Series Makeup Department
Karen Edwards .... hair stylist / makeup artist (5 episodes, 2003)
Nicola Mansell .... hair stylist / makeup artist (5 episodes, 2003)
Anne Oldham .... hair designer / makeup designer (5 episodes, 2003)
Series Production Management
Tom Crooke .... unit manager (5 episodes, 2003)
Heidi Mount .... post-production supervisor (4 episodes, 2003)
Series Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Nicola Parfit .... floor assistant director (6 episodes, 2003)
Stephen Woolfenden .... first assistant director (6 episodes, 2003)
Paul Mason .... third assistant director (5 episodes, 2003)
Beni Turkson .... second assistant director (5 episodes, 2003)
Series Art Department
Mike Rawlings .... props (6 episodes, 2003)
Jo Aitchison .... stand-by art director (5 episodes, 2003)
Graham Bishop .... production buyer (5 episodes, 2003)
Bunny Burton .... painter (5 episodes, 2003)
Douglas Glen .... stand-by props (5 episodes, 2003)
Matthew Power .... dressing props (5 episodes, 2003)
Mike Power .... property master / props master (5 episodes, 2003)
Tony Power .... stand-by painter (5 episodes, 2003)
Charlie Redman .... stand-by props (5 episodes, 2003)
Brian Rollands .... dressing props (5 episodes, 2003)
Chris Sibley-Hale .... carpenter (5 episodes, 2003)
Nick Slater .... stand-by carpenter (5 episodes, 2003)
Kate Wicks .... art department assistant (5 episodes, 2003)
Gareth Wilkins .... carpenter (5 episodes, 2003)
Roger Wilkins .... construction manager (5 episodes, 2003)
Joe Willmott .... carpenter (5 episodes, 2003)
Charlie Macher .... stand-by rigger (4 episodes, 2003)
Series Sound Department
Lee Walpole .... foley editor (6 episodes, 2003)
Rowena Wilkinson .... foley artist (6 episodes, 2003)
Stuart Hilliker .... dubbing mixer (5 episodes, 2003)
Jeremy Lishman .... boom operator (5 episodes, 2003)
Jamie McPhee .... sound effects editor (5 episodes, 2003)
Simon Okin .... sound mixer (5 episodes, 2003)
Adrienne Taylor .... sound assistant (5 episodes, 2003)
Stan White .... adr editor (5 episodes, 2003)
Pat Boxshall .... dialogue editor (3 episodes, 2003)
Jennie Evans .... dialogue editor (2 episodes, 2003)
Ian Wilkinson .... foley recordist (2 episodes, 2003)
Series Visual Effects by
Colin Gorry .... visual effects supervisor (4 episodes, 2003)
Series Stunts
Paul Weston .... stunt coordinator (2 episodes, 2003)
Series Camera and Electrical Department
Jeremy Hiles .... camera operator (6 episodes, 2003)
Chris Williams .... camera trainee (6 episodes, 2003)
Steve Anthony .... best boy (5 episodes, 2003)
Dick Conway .... electrician (5 episodes, 2003)
Steve Ellingworth .... camera grip (5 episodes, 2003)
Guy Hammond .... electrician (5 episodes, 2003)
Stuart King .... gaffer (5 episodes, 2003)
Tom McFarling .... clapper loader (5 episodes, 2003)
Kim Seber .... camera focus puller (5 episodes, 2003)
David Wall .... electrician (5 episodes, 2003)
Paul Worley .... second grip (5 episodes, 2003)
Mark Funnell .... electrician (4 episodes, 2003)

Joss Barratt .... still photographer (unknown episodes)
Series Costume and Wardrobe Department
Gilly Martin .... wardrobe supervisor (5 episodes, 2003)
Marc Ridley .... costume assistant (5 episodes, 2003)
Leonora Stabb .... costume assistant (5 episodes, 2003)
Series Editorial Department
Chris Beeton .... colorist (5 episodes, 2003)
Justin Eely .... on-line editor (5 episodes, 2003)
Natasha Wilkinson .... assistant editor (5 episodes, 2003)
Series Transportation Department
Guy Bostock .... picture car coordinator (6 episodes, 2003)
Series Other crew
Jane Houston .... script supervisor / continuity (6 episodes, 2003)
Dave Williams .... catering crew (6 episodes, 2003)
Sue Affleck .... unit publicist (5 episodes, 2003)
Janine Bennett .... production secretary (5 episodes, 2003)
Heather Bownass .... production secretary (5 episodes, 2003)
Finlay Bradbury .... location assistant (5 episodes, 2003)
Susie Conklin .... script editor (5 episodes, 2003)
Wim De Greef .... production accountant (5 episodes, 2003)
Thomas Elgood .... location manager (5 episodes, 2003)
Mark Galbraith .... production executive: BBC (5 episodes, 2003)
Claire Kerrison .... production coordinator (5 episodes, 2003)
Joann Steele .... assistant production accountant (5 episodes, 2003)
Victoria Brooks .... picture publicist (4 episodes, 2003)
Simon Hoggart .... political advisor (4 episodes, 2003)
Norman Lane .... journalist advisor (4 episodes, 2003)
Kevin Maguire .... journalist advisor (4 episodes, 2003)

Guy Cowan .... caterer (unknown episodes)
Oliver Kersey .... additional set production assistant (unknown episodes)
Daigoro Tivers .... production runner (unknown episodes)

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies
  • Boom  sound post-production
  • Compuhire  computer and video playback

Additional Details

Also Known As:
57 min (6 episodes)
Aspect Ratio:
1.78 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Australia:MA | Australia:M (some episodes) | Finland:K-15 | UK:12 (1 episode) | UK:15 (5 episodes)

Did You Know?

The set of the House of Commons chamber is the same one that was a part of Granada Studios Tour. It was purchased personally by the scriptwriter Paul Abbott so it could used in the drama otherwise it would have been destroyed when the Tour closed and he feared it would take too long to get the necessary money from the BBC. It is currently kept in storage in Oxford.See more »
Stephen Collins:[seated on the steps of Cal McCaffrey's house, as Cal is walking away] You're no good to Anne now... Your name will be on the story... You'd know if you had them... Kids... They shoot the messenger... They just doSee more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in "Top Gear: Episode #19.5" (2013)See more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
25 out of 29 people found the following review useful.
What A Good Thriller Ought To Be, 9 September 2009
Author: Matthew Kresal from United States

It isn't often that something literally comes along and changes the standards of a viewer for an entire genre. By the time I got through the nearly six hour of State Of Play the first time around, that was exactly what had happened to me. Having watched it again in virtually one sitting I am once again surprised not only by how well the mini-series holds up during a second (or in my case third) viewing but just how high the quality of the mini-series really is.

To begin with, the series features one essential element for any good story: good and believable characters played by fine actors. The cast of the series is top notch and is led by John Simm as newspaper reporter Cal McCaffrey and David Morrissey as British politician Stephen Collins who both give two incredibly gripping yet believable performances. While this is true of the entire series this fact is especially true during the final minutes of the series when things effectively become a two-hand play between Simm and Morrissey and their respective characters. It's easy to imagine how these characters could have been played differently but here, in this series, these performances are (to use words I don't sue very often) absolutely perfect.

That's not to say that the rest of the cast is lacking by any means, far from it in fact. The supporting cast features fantastic performances that are just as gripping and believable as the performances of the mini-series two leads. The cast ranges Kelly Macdonald as reporter Della Smith, James McAvoy as reporter Dan Foster, Polly Walker as Coliins wife Anne, Stuart Goodwin as the mysterious Robert Bingham and the ever magnificent Bill Nighy as newspaper editor Cameron Foster. There is many more of course many others, but these are just a few of the fantastic performances to be found in State Of Play.

There are also the production values to consider as well. One of the best things about State Of Play is the fact that one could believe that this could whole sequence of events is really just a headline away at any moment. Much of the credit of that goes to the production design of Donald Woods and the costumes of Claire Anderson both of which anchor the series firmly in reality. Then there's the incredible fly-on-the-wall cinematography by Chris Seager which manages not only to compliment the reality of the production design and costumes but gives the entire mini-series a documentary feel as well, all of which is helped by the editing of Mark Day. There's also the sparingly used, but highly effective, score by composer Nicholas Hooper which does what a good score is supposed to do: give additional emotional depth to any scene it appears in. All together the result is some of the strongest production values you're ever likely to see in a TV mini-series.

The real success of the realistic feel of State Of Play lies not in how good the production values are but in the writing of scriptwriter Paul Abbott. Abbott has created a story that feels as though it could be ripped from tomorrow's headlines in a cautionary tale about the sometime fuzzy line between major corporations and those in government whoa re supposed to oversee them, in this case the corporation being a fictional but plausible British oil company and its lobbyists. The mini-series also takes a look at the modern news industry, how it gathers news, where it gets its information from and how pressure can be brought to bare if there's a story too damaging to those in high and powerful places. To do all this successfully and believably, Abbott forgoes many of the thriller clichés of rather tired action sequences and instead (and rightfully in my humble opinion anyway) focuses on the characters and their dialogue which leads to close six hours of fantastic dialogue and an incredible plot. If anything makes State Of Play worth seeing it is the plot which sets a new standard in just how many twists and turns one can fit in a seemingly easily clichéd plot. The result is a complex a mini-series that leaves a first-time viewer ever seeking answers and those who've seen it before looking and finding new clues with every viewing. In short: it's a first class script without any doubt.

So what is State Of Play? It is a fantastic thriller containing some truly fantastic yet believable performances, fine production values and a first-rate script that never sinks into clichés. Yet it also something that is increasingly rare today. By doing all of those things it succeeds in doing something truly spectacular: it changes and raises the standards for an entire genre with it. If you can say nothing else you can say that State Of Play is what a good thriller ought to be.

Was the above review useful to you?
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Dominic Foy!!!! CUTEST! jelly_blob_bobs
Mad dogs Keith_in_Brighton_UK
Plot Hole humphreywalwyn
the truth about Stephen Collins ? (spoilers galore) dwgryph
Other Miniseries? afox9119
That was some shot dwgryph
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