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The Playbirds (1978)

| Drama | 1978 (UK)
Two detectives are drawn into the world of porn, while investigating murders of centrefolds...


Willy Roe


George Evans (screenplay) (as Bud Tobin), Willy Roe (screenplay) (as Robin O'Connor)




Cast overview, first billed only:
Mary Millington Mary Millington ... Lucy
Glynn Edwards ... Holbourne
Gavin Campbell Gavin Campbell ... 'Inspector Harry Morgan' / Morgan
Alan Lake Alan Lake ... Dougan
Windsor Davies ... Assistant Police Commissioner
Derren Nesbitt ... Jeremy
Kenny Lynch Kenny Lynch ... Police Doctor
Suzy Mandel ... Lena
Ballard Berkeley ... Trainer
Sandra Dorne ... Dougan's Secretary
Alec Mango ... Ransome
Penny Spencer Penny Spencer ... W.P.C. Andrews
Michael Gradwell Michael Gradwell ... Terry Day (as Michael-John Gradwell/Michael Gradwell)
Tony Kenyon Tony Kenyon ... Dolby
Ronald Flanagan Ronald Flanagan ... Wilson (as Ron Flanagan)


In order to unmask a pathological killer who is targeting the beautiful centerfolds of Playbirds magazine, a sexy policewoman Lucy Sheridan puts her life and reputation on the line by sleeping with millionaire publisher Harry Dougan. The Chief Superintendant and Police Commissioner are keeping a close eye on her, but time is running out fast. Written by AnonymusB

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A murder thriller with thrilling bodies! See more »




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Did You Know?


Opening credits: All characters and situations in this film are entirely fictitious, and any similarity to any person is purely coincidental. See more »


During Lucy Sheridan's striptease sequence, her knickers change from black to white to black again. See more »


Featured in Doing Rude Things (1995) See more »


Title song
by Johnny Worth (as John Worth) & David Whitaker
Sung by Johnny Worth (as John Worth)
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User Reviews

Curse of the Centrefold
5 March 2020 | by GoingbeggingSee all my reviews

Well, it's one way to build circulation for your porn mag - make an X-rated thriller about it, as David Sullivan did, even hinting that the pornographer in the story could be trying to keep his own magazine (also conveniently called 'Playbirds') in the public eye by arranging for each centrefold model to be brutally murdered, just as the publication hits the street.

We can't name the killer, of course, but we can tell you that the suspects make a colourful line-up, providing an excuse for some varied location scenes, ranging from Speakers' Corner through Newmarket racecourse to a forest where some rather extreme witchcraft rituals look like getting out of hand...

Funniest is the moment when the baffled detectives think it's time to send in an undercover female cop to charm the publisher into giving her a centrefold, so they have to start by holding auditions at Scotland Yard. Mary Millington carries no conviction whatever as a police officer, but she certainly makes one heck of a stripper, and should have exploited the surprisingly common policewoman fetish with plenty of slow peeling-off of the dark blue livery of the law.

Nobody could watch this film without noting the sad irony that two of the young stars committed suicide soon after: first Millington herself, swamped by drugs and tax-bills, and then the alcoholic Alan Lake, unable to cope with the premature death of his wife Diana Dors. This reflects a haunting theme, the mystic link between mating and death - the porn-stars we're conditioned to envy in their little plastic heaven, with every carnal satisfaction laid-on like a tray of snacks, yet forever tainted by elements of the cynical and the criminal. Reminding us in the end that this branch of entertainment promises everything but delivers nothing.

The Playbirds is not as predictable or monotonous as other low-budget soft-porn features, thanks to a number of mainstream actors like Windsor Davies, Gavin Campbell and Dudley Sutton. There are some good dramatic situations too, but they don't really gel, and the scripting and directing by Willie Roe is disappointing.

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Release Date:

1978 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

The Playbird Murders See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Roldvale See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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