Following the success of “Flipside…”, Play for Today went a bit sci-fi mad, and gave rise to a mini-season of six plays set in various extrapolated futures, formulated by holding a futurology seminar for the series authors, with scientists, economists, sociologists and the like. The result was a mixed bunch, to say the least…
By Caryl Churchill
2002: In a paranoid UK, with the threat of nuclear war ever closer and prisons full to bursting, four convicts tell of the ‘crimes’ they have committed, some seemingly innocuous by today’s standards… at least, at first. Includes a parody of the then-prevalent Protect and Survive leaflets and broadcasts. With Sylvestra Le Touzel and TP McKenna as the prison psychiatrist.
By Peter Prince
1999: Examination of family life and political ideals in a war-ravaged future Europe, compared and contrasted with ’60s equivalents. Gavin Campbell features.
By Michael Wilcox
1997: A village cricket team (complete with computerised Wisden Almanac with the voice of Brian Johnson) is suspected of moonlighting as a private guerilla arm, fighting the Forestry Commission.
By Tom McGrath
1999: Perma-redundant dad Jimmy Logan takes his family on a strange ‘working holiday’, scrubbing floors in an undersea missile base. With Gavin Campbell again.
By Stephen Lowe
1999 again: A tower block contains youths ‘bought off’ by the government, in a climate of microchip-created endless leisure, who experience (often pornographic) virtual reality-style fantasies by donning the titular ‘shades’, until a 1980s theme party (they predicted that right, at least) leads to ideology and political thought seeping in under the dazed lifestyle. With Neil Pearson.
By Graham Reid
2016: Ideological stand off in a Northern Ireland teacher training college on the centenary of the Easter Rising. With Bill Nighy, Colm Meaney and a young Kenneth Branagh.