21 August 2015

Colm Meaney and Other Famous Actors in Play for Tomorrow

In addition to my dissertation research, I've been reading a lot about the BBC in the 1980s for a creative writing project I'm working on. That research led me to a video, which I'll share in lieu of writing something more involved, since I am pressed for time this week!

In my meanderings, I discovered Play for Tomorrow, a spin-off of the programme Play for Today. Play for Today, as you probably already know, was a BBC drama anthology which ran from 1970 to 1984, back when British people used to call one-off television programmes "plays" and not, say, TV movies. Play for Tomorrow, as you might guess from its slightly too cute title, was a science fiction spin-off that ran for six weeks in early 1982.

One episode of Play for Tomorrow was "Easter 2016," about a student uprising in Ireland in the far future, starring, among others, a young Colm Meaney (Star Trek's Chief O'Brien), a young Kenneth Branagh (in what I think was his second television role), and a middle-aged Bill Nighy. Meaney is maybe a little old to be playing a university student, but I think he kind of gets away with it thanks to his round face.

Anyway, the whole thing is up on YouTube, though you do have to slog through a five-minute opening scene about university politics regarding name badges:

If you're too lazy or too bored to do that, this 2.5-minute scene gives you both Branagh and Meaney; in fact, they're sparring with one another! (Branagh plays the ambitious role of "Student.")

This was definitely not something I expected to discover. They did some weird and wonderful stuff on the BBC back in the day. (Still do, I guess.)

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