Play for Today (1970–1984)
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Abigail's Party 

Beverly has invited her new neighbours, Angela and Tony, over for drinks. She has also asked her divorced neighbour, Sue, because Sue's fifteen year-old daughter, Abigail, was holding a ... See full summary »

Director:

Mike Leigh

Writer:

Mike Leigh (devised by)
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Cast

Episode complete credited cast:
Alison Steadman ... Beverly
Tim Stern Tim Stern ... Laurence
Janine Duvitski ... Angela
John Salthouse ... Tony
Harriet Reynolds Harriet Reynolds ... Susan
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Storyline

Beverly has invited her new neighbours, Angela and Tony, over for drinks. She has also asked her divorced neighbour, Sue, because Sue's fifteen year-old daughter, Abigail, was holding a party in their house. Beverly's husband, Lawrence comes home late from work, just before the guests arrive. The gathering starts off in a stiff insensitive British middle class way with people who do not know each other, until Beverly and Lawrence start sniping at each other. Written by Will Gilbert

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Genres:

Comedy | Drama

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Alison Steadman based Beverly on a lady she knew whilst at Drama school in Essex, she merged this person with a woman she saw demonstrating a make-up range at a department store who either knowingly or unknowingly humiliated a lady she had plucked from the passing shoppers and telling a watching crowd she had applied her lipstick very badly. See more »

Goofs

During some scenes, most notable at the start the crew & in particular the sound boom man can be seen clearly reflected in actress Janine Duvitski's (Angela) large glasses. See more »

Quotes

Beverly: Laurence, we're not here to hold conversations, we're here to enjoy ourselves.
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Connections

Referenced in Cheap Rate Gravity (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

She's a Lady
Written by Paul Anka
Performed by Tom Jones
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User Reviews

 
one of the great Plays for Today that has grown from TV
8 November 2007 | by didi-5See all my reviews

It seems superfluous to say anything about 'Abigail's Party', as it made such an impact when first shown on 'Play for Today', and continues to do so.

Mike Leigh moved on to devise and direct many feature films, always in collaboration with his actors. Then-wife Alison Steadman was a frequent collaborator, but this was the role which made her name. As Beverly she is truly horrendous, the typical embodiment of middle-class suburbia, with kitchen gadgets she doesn't know how to use and dubious taste in music (Demis Roussos, Tom Jones ...).

Abigail of course is never seen, but her party is heard as a background to Beverly and Laurence's soirée while worried mum Sue sits awkwardly with her constant top ups of gin and tonic. Neighbours Angela and Tony are an echo of the couple visiting George and Martha in 'Who's Afraid of Virgina Woolf?'

The genius of 'Abigail's Party' is its sharp dialogue, its acid wit, and the power it has to amuse us, make us cringe, and ultimately shock us. Unmissable and unforgettable.

Alison Steadman ... Beverly

Tim Stern ... Laurence

Janine Duvitski ... Angela

John Salthouse ... Tony

Harriet Reynolds ... Susan


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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 November 1977 (UK) See more »

Filming Locations:

England, UK

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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