Play for Today (1970–1984)
7.6/10
103
1 user 12 critic

Robin Redbreast 

After the break-up of a long-term relationship, urban sophisticate Norah seeks refuge in a remote house in the country. The locals are friendly, if eccentric, and she toys with the idea of ... See full summary »

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Cast

Episode complete credited cast:
Anna Cropper ...
Norah Palmer
...
Madge
...
Jake
Freda Bamford ...
Mrs. Vigo
Bernard Hepton ...
Fisher
Andy Bradford ...
Rob
Cyril Cross ...
Peter
Robin Wentworth ...
Wellbeloved
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Storyline

After the break-up of a long-term relationship, urban sophisticate Norah seeks refuge in a remote house in the country. The locals are friendly, if eccentric, and she toys with the idea of a flirtation with dishy young gamekeeper Rob. But events at Harvest Festival leave her feeling manipulated, and six months later, with the consequences all too evident, she finds herself trapped in what is more like a nightmare. What role is she destined to play in the cycle of the seasons -- and of the generations? Written by Igenlode Wordsmith

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Comedy | Drama

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10 December 1970 (UK)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Robin Redbreast was first broadcast on 10 December 1970, but power cuts in parts of the UK prevented viewers from watching the final minutes of the play. It was repeated on 25 February 1971, becoming the first Play for Today to have a repeat broadcast. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Fishing for clams.
17 August 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

During my early teenage years,I remember that whenever my mum and dad talked about TV shows that were show when they were growing up,they would always mention a program called "Play For Today",due to how much controversy the program received during its airing.

Years later:

After having the extraordinary chance to attend a Q & A session which director Mike Leigh held at a near by Uni,I became interested in taking a look at the Play For Today program,which had been highly spoken of during the Q & A.Doing a bit of research about the show and also checking for its availability,I was thrilled to discover that all of Leigh's Play For Today's had been brought out,but was shocked to discover that out of the 300 or so plays,only a tiny fraction of them had been brought out,with most of the plays sadly being left to fade away into history.

Having given up on seeing any of the "forgotten" Play For Todays,I ended up happily being caught completely by surprise,when a friend kindly gave me a copy of a wonderful sounding,"Forgotten" Play for Today play/episode!.

The plot:

With recently having had a messy break up with her long term partner in London,Norah feels that she needs to get away from "The City" life as far as possible,which leads to her deciding to move away to a cottage in a remote rural village.Hiring a local called Mrs Vigo to act as a part time maid for the house,Norah notices that field mice's seem to have somehow gotten into her cottage.

Being advised by Vigo, (who seems to know about everything that happens in the village) Norah decides to ask a rugged,young gamekeeper called Rob to help with getting rid of the mice's.Thinking about Rob during the night,Norah gets the shock of her life,when she hears a loud thud that rattles her cottage.

Despite having "gone home" hours ago,Rob bursts through the front door and tells Norah that he has just come to check up on her,and see if everything is alright.Feeling relived about seeing him again,Norah starts to feel very close to Rob and ends up sleeping with him, (unprotectived-due to her contraceptive having strangely "disappeared".) Leaving her behind after their night of passion,Norah quickly discovers that Rob has made her pregnant.

Deciding that her night with Rob was a "one off",Noarh starts to make arrangements to stay with friends In London,as she considers either keeping the child or having an abortion.Attempting to sort out an agreement with her friends on where she can stay,Norah begins to notice that the towns folk are worryingly starting to surround her,as if they are trying to do everything possible to make sure that she never leaves "their" village.

View on the play:

From the moment that Norah steps into her cottage for the first time,writer John Bowen makes the dialogue impressively frank,in a manner which is still sharp and has not been worn down over the ensuring decades.

Having Norah, (played by a terrificly firm Anna Cropper) feature in almost every scene of the play,Bowen cleverly has the character break every taboo imaginable,from smoking whilst pregnant, (shown in a smartly matter of fact way by director James MacTaggart) to destroying any remaining that "Intamate" relationships shown on TV have to involve love,and cant feature a character who just wants to sleep with someone,and never see them again.

Surprisingly being ahead of some of the themes which Anthony Shaffer's screenplay of The Wicker Man would look at a few years later,Bowen expertly has the brilliant "Folk Horror" of the play always bubbling away underneath,until the end when he smoothly pushes it right to centre stage,as Norah begins to fear for her life over how strange and sinister the towns folk are,whilst also realising,that she has in fact not entered any village,but has in fact horrifyingly entered "their" village.


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