This Willy Russell musical ensemble piece isn’t usually counted as a ‘true’ Play for Today because it wasn’t billed as such, but it was shown in the PfT slot in the middle of a PfT season, so in it bloody goes.
A Liverpudlian school “progress” class’s coach outing to Conway Castle in North Wales, the zoo, the beach and the fair, brings out anarchic behaviour in pupils and teachers alike. Filmed entirely on location, it takes on the mantle of Grange Hill the Musical, with frequent weird little diversions into song, particularly from the kids as a kind of sarky Greek chorus (including “Oh, the penny chews are ten pence in this caff…”, “A straight line is a wonderful thing to behold”, and the teacher-baiting Mersey Tunnel Song).
Plenty of chances for the kids to upstage the adults with behind-the-back larking about, much discussion between the hardline Briggs and softer Miss Kay about the value of educating the “no hopers”, and a softening of Briggs’ carapace after a clifftop confrontation with one of the schoolgirls about her bleak prospects. With Alun Armstrong and Elizabeth Estensen as teachers, Robert Gillespie as the headmaster, and Peter Tilbury.