Play for Today at 50 Online Symposium 14-15 October 2020

Registration is now open for Play for Today at 50, a free online symposium on the 14th and 15th October 2020. Registration for the symposium is free through Eventbrite:

Play for Today constitutes one of the most important series ever of British television drama. Beginning on BBC1 on Thursday 15 October 1970, it continued until 1984, running to over 300 individual plays and regularly commanding audiences of several millions. Launched as a successor to The Wednesday Play, the series won a reputation for social commitment, artistic experiment and contemporary relevance that attracted both critical acclaim and political controversy.

To mark the anniversary of the fiftieth anniversary of the series, Play for Today at 50 will bring together a mix of television professionals and scholars to discuss the history of the series, its cultural legacy and the individual plays that were produced. Participants will include the producers and directors Peter Ansorge, Richard Eyre, Piers Haggard, Margaret Matheson, Tara Prem and Ken Trodd as well as the writers and researchers Vicky Ball, John Cook, Katie Crosson, Simon Farquhar, John Hill, Eleni Liarou, Tom May, Jonny Murray and John Wyver.

The event is organised by John Hill, Professor of Media and Co-Director of the Centre for the History of Television Culture and Production  at Royal Holloway, University of London and John Wyver, Professor of the Arts on Screen, University of Westminster. John Wyver’s new documentary Drama out of a Crisis: a Celebration of Play for Today will be broadcast on BBC 4 on 12 October at 9pm. John Hill also curates a blog on Play for Today at

The event will begin 18.30 -20.00 on Wednesday 14th October and run from 9.30 – 17.30 on Thursday 15th October.

Wednesday 14th October

18.30 – 20.00 Play for Today, today: John Wyver (University of Westminster)

Thursday 15th October 2020

9.30     Welcome and Introduction (John Hill and John Wyver)

9.40      Making Play for Today Interview: Richard Eyre

10.10    Making Play for Today Interview: Margaret Matheson

10.40   Break

10.50   Panel:

Revisiting the history of Play for Today: Tom May (Northumbria University), Simon Farquhar (writer and broadcaster), John Cook (Glasgow Caledonian University)

12.10   Making Play for Today Interview:  Ken Trodd

12.40   Lunch break

13.30   Making Play for Today Interview: Piers Haggard

14.00    Panel:

Play for Today and social change: Vicky Ball (De Montfort University), Eleni Liarou (Birkbeck, University of London), Katie Crosson (Royal Holloway, University of London)

15.20   Making Play for Today Interview: Tara Prem

15.50   Break

16.00   Making Play for Today Interview: Peter Ansorge

16.30   Panel:

Play for Today and the ‘nations and regions’: Jonny Murray (University of Edinburgh), John Hill (Royal Holloway, University of London)

17.30    Close

Registration for the symposium is free through Eventbrite:

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