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Screen One was a British television anthology drama series, produced by the BBC and distributed by BBC Worldwide, that transmitted on BBC1 between 1989 and 1998.[1] A total of six series were broadcast, incorporating sixty individual films, several of which were broadcast as stand-alone specials. The series was born following the demise of the BBC's Play for Today, which ran from 1970 to 1984. Producer Kenith Trodd was asked to formulate a new series of one-off television dramas, the result of which was Screen Two, which began broadcasting on BBC2 in 1985. However, while Play for Today's style had often been a largely studio-based form of theatre on television, Screen Two was shot entirely on film.

Screen One
Written byVarious
Directed byVarious
  • Michael Storey
  • Bill Connor
  • Ilona Sekacz
  • Colin Towns et al.
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series7
No. of episodes60 (list of episodes)
Executive producers
  • Richard Broke
  • Margaret Matheston et al.
  • Ruth Caleb
  • Andrée Molyneux et al.
CinematographyJohn McGlashan et al.
EditorKen Pearce et al.
Running time90 minutes (approx.)
Production companyBBC
DistributorBBC Worldwide
Original networkBBC1
Picture format16:9 (576i)
Audio formatStereo
Original release10 September 1989 (1989-09-10) 
15 February 1998 (1998-02-15)

In 1989, the series was adapted for more mainstream audiences on BBC1, and Screen One was born to follow the lead taken by Channel 4, whose many television films had later been released in cinemas. Screen One attracted many names familiar to television and film audiences, including the likes of Peggy Ashcroft, Alfred Molina, Sean Bean, David Thewlis, Ray Winstone, Alan Bates, Judi Dench, James Fox, Keith Allen, Bob Peck, Alun Armstrong, Marina Sirtis, David Jason, Brenda Blethyn, James Bolam, Adrian Edmondson, Alison Steadman, Timothy West, Clive Russell, Janet McTeer and Michael Murphy. Several actors also made their on-screen debuts during the series, including Keira Knightley in the fifth series episode Royal Celebration. By 1993, the prevailing mood within the BBC was to move away from single dramas and concentrate production on series and serials, and as such, a reduced six-episode series, broadcast in 1994, was to be the last full-length series of Screen One, although a further eight one-off specials followed, with the final episode being broadcast on 15 February 1998.


SeriesEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
18 (7 + 1 Special)10 September 1989 (1989-09-10)27 December 1989 (1989-12-27)
210 (8 + 2 Specials)2 September 1990 (1990-09-02)1 January 1991 (1991-01-01)
310 (8 + 2 Specials)20 June 1991 (1991-06-20)1 January 1992 (1992-01-01)
49 (8 + 1 Special)6 September 1992 (1992-09-06)31 October 1992 (1992-10-31)
585 September 1993 (1993-09-05)24 October 1993 (1993-10-24)
67 (6 + 1 Special)6 February 1994 (1994-02-06)16 October 1994 (1994-10-16)
78 (8 Specials)20 January 1995 (1995-01-20)15 February 1998 (1998-02-15)


Series 1 (1989)

Episode Title Written by Directed by Original airdate
1 "One Way Out"Mick FordRobert Young10 September 1989 (1989-09-10)
Starring Bob Peck, Denis Lawson, Samantha Bond and Enn Reitel
2 "Nineteen 96"G. F. NewmanKarl Francis17 September 1989 (1989-09-17)
Starring Keith Barron, Alun Armstrong, Keith Allen, Dudley Sutton, Roger Brierley, Clyde Pollitt and Roger Nott
3 "The Accountant"Geoffrey CaseLes Blair24 September 1989 (1989-09-24)
Starring Alfred Molina and David Graham
4 "Home Run"Andy ArmitageNicholas Renton1 October 1989 (1989-10-01)
Starring Michael Kitchen, Tom Georgeson, Keith Barron, Dean Harris, Dominic Jephcott, Christine Kavanagh and Andrew Powell
5 "She's Been Away"Stephen PoliakoffPeter Hall8 October 1989 (1989-10-08)
Starring Peggy Ashcroft, James Fox, Michael Carter, Rosalie Crutchley, Donald Douglas, David Hargreaves, Geraldine James, Hugh Lloyd, René Zagger and Barnaby Holm
6 "The Mountain and the Molehill"David ReidMoira Armstrong15 October 1989 (1989-10-15)
Starring Michael Gough, John Carson, Paul Brooke, Roger Brierley, Peter Howell, Ian Thompson and James Appleby
7 "Blore M.P."Robin ChapmanRobert Young22 October 1989 (1989-10-22)
Starring Timothy West, Oscar Quitak, James Warwick, Barry Jackson, Stephen Moore, Ray Winstone, David Jackson, John Baddeley and Clyde Pollitt. (Based on the novel Scandal, by A.N. Wilson).
8 "Ball-Trap on the Cote Sauvage"Andrew DaviesJack Gold27 December 1989 (1989-12-27)
Special. Starring Jack Shepherd, Zoë Wanamaker, Miranda Richardson and Michael Kitchen

Series 2 (1990—1991)

Episode Title Written by Directed by Original airdate
1 "News Hounds"Les Blair (uncredited)Les Blair2 September 1990 (1990-09-02)
Starring Adrian Edmondson, Alison Steadman, Steven Mackintosh, Edwina Currie, Paul Kember and Nigel Pegram
2 "Frankenstein's Baby"Emma TennantRobert Bierman9 September 1990 (1990-09-09)
Starring Nigel Planer, Kate Buffery and Elizabeth Carling
3 "The Police"Arthur EllisIan Knox16 September 1990 (1990-09-16)
Starring Oliver Ford Davies, Derek Martin, Arbel Jones and Paul Collins
4 "Sweet Nothing"Vincent O'ConnellTony Smith23 September 1990 (1990-09-23)
Starring Lee Ross, Charlotte Coleman, Simon Cadell, Victor Maddern and Michael Melia
5 "Can You Hear Me Thinking?"Monty Haltrecht & Beverley MarcusChristopher Morahan30 September 1990 (1990-09-30)

Starring Judi Dench, Michael Williams, Charmian May, Pik-Sen Lim, Cyril Shaps, Sally Bretton and Christopher Burgess

  • Released on DVD on 5 November 2007 as part of The Judi Dench Collection.[2]
6 "One Last Chance"Andrew KazamiaGabrielle Beaumont7 October 1990 (1990-10-07)
Starring Marina Sirtis, Bernard Spear and Eileen Way
7 "Sticky Wickets"Fletcher WatkinsDewi Humphreys14 October 1990 (1990-10-14)
Starring Alun Armstrong, James Bolam, Gillian Elisa, George Sewell and William Thomas
8 "Survival of the Fittest"Julian MitchellMartyn Friend21 October 1990 (1990-10-21)
Starring Timothy West, Jean Anderson, Nerys Hughes and Elizabeth Spriggs
9 "Dark City"David LanChris Curling11 December 1990 (1990-12-11)


Starring Sello Maake Ka-Ncube, Vusi Dibakwane and Thapelo Mafokeng
10 "Happy Feet"Michael BradwellMichael Bradwell1 January 1991 (1991-01-01)


Starring Phyllis Logan, Jim Broadbent, Derrick O'Connor and Chris Jury

Series 3 (1991—1992)

Episode Title Written by Directed by Original airdate
1 "Skulduggery"Phil DavisPhil Davis20 June 1991 (1991-06-20)


Starring David Thewlis, Robin Weaver, Patsy Palmer, Charlie Creed-Miles, Jake Wood and Robert Pugh
2 "Hancock"William HumbleTony Smith1 September 1991 (1991-09-01)
Starring Alfred Molina, Frances Barber, Clive Russell, Paul Brooke, Kenneth Gilbert and Nick Burnell[3]
3 "Tell Me That You Love Me"Adrian HodgesBruce MacDonald8 September 1991 (1991-09-08)
Starring Judith Scott, Sean Bean, James Wilby, Michael Cochrane and Barbara Ward
4 "Filipina Dreamgirls"Andrew DaviesLes Blair15 September 1991 (1991-09-15)
Starring Bill Maynard, Charlie Drake, David Thewlis, Geoffrey Hutchings and Lee Cornes
5 "Dancin' Thru the Dark"Willy RussellMike Ockrent22 September 1991 (1991-09-22)

Linda is out on her hen night, while her fiance is out on his stag night. Linda is having major doubts about getting married. When both groups arrive at a club, they find the band fronted by her ex-boyfriend—and the love of her life—Peter. Linda has to decide: does she stay and settle down, like her friends want her to, or does she chuck it all in and run away with Peter?

Starring Claire Hackett, Con O'Neill, Julia Deakin, Simon O'Brien and Mark Womack

  • Based on the play Stags and Hens. Released on DVD on 26 March 2012.[4]
6 "Ex"William HumblePaul Seed29 September 1991 (1991-09-29)
Starring Griff Rhys Jones, Geraldine James, Penny Downie, Dermot Crowley, Mary Jo Randle, Bruce Montague and Colin Douglas
7 "Prince"Julie BurchillDavid Wheatley6 October 1991 (1991-10-06)
Starring Sean Bean, Janet McTeer, Celia Montague and Jackie McGuire
8 "Alive and Kicking"Al Hunter AshtonRobert Young13 October 1991 (1991-10-13)

Stevie "Smudger" Smith is a heroin dealer and an addict. His wife Marie is also an addict, and when their baby, Jason, is born he is addicted too. When Jason is taken into care, Marie leaves Smudger to get clean and win Jason back, with the help-of unorthodox drug counsellor Liam Kane. Stevie and Liam are soon at loggerheads as Stevie wants his wife and son back, but realises he can only do this if he also gets clean. In trouble with his old gang and his rivals, he does so, but has no interest in the conventional rehabilitation on offer. He decides to form a football team of recovering addicts, helped by his old coach, Earl.[5]

Starring Lenny Henry, Robbie Coltrane, Jane Horrocks, Paul Barber, Annabelle Apsion, Imogen Boorman, Geff Francis, Jillie Meers and Sakuntala Ramanee
9 "A Question of Attribution"Alan BennettJohn Schlesinger20 October 1991 (1991-10-20)

Starring James Fox, Prunella Scales, Geoffrey Palmer, David Calder, John Cater and Edward de Souza

  • Adapted from the Alan Bennett play. Won the 1992 BAFTA Award for Best Single Drama. Prunella Scales was also nominated for Best Actress. Released on DVD on 26 October 2009 as part of Alan Bennett at the BBC.[6]
10 "Adam Bede"Maggie WadeyGiles Foster1 January 1992 (1992-01-01)


Starring Patsy Kensit, Julia McKenzie, Jean Marsh, Freddie Jones, Paul Brooke, Patsy Byrne, Roy Evans, Edward Jewesbury and Michael Robbins

  • Released on Region 1 DVD in 2007.[7]

Series 4 (1992)

Episode Title Written by Directed by Original airdate
1 "A Very Polish Practice"Andrew DaviesDavid Tucker6 September 1992 (1992-09-06)

Starring Peter Davison, David Troughton, Joanna Kanska, Alfred Molina and Gertan Klauber

  • A spin off from the comedy drama series A Very Peculiar Practice. Released together with the series on DVD.
2 "Disaster at Valdez"Michael BakerPaul Seed13 September 1992 (1992-09-13)
Starring Christopher Lloyd, John Heard, Rip Torn, Michael Murphy and Paul Guilfoyle
3 "Born Kicking"Barry HinesMandie Fletcher20 September 1992 (1992-09-20)
Starring John Abineri, Nicholas Courtney, Norman Bird, Thomas Craig, George Irving, Terry Wogan, David McAlister, Sheila Ruskin, Garfield Morgan, Norman Mitchell and Martin Cochrane
4 "Black and Blue"G. F. NewmanDavid Hayman27 September 1992 (1992-09-27)
Starring Linus Roache, Martin Shaw, Iain Glen, Ray Winstone, David Morrissey, Don Henderson, David Thewlis, Madhav Sharma and Colin McFarlane
5 "Seconds Out"Lynda La PlanteBruce MacDonald4 October 1992 (1992-10-04)
Starring Steven Waddington, Tom Bell, Derek Newark, Jack Watson, Nick Brimble, Frank Mills, Thomas Craig, Tim Barlow, Eric Mason and Roy Heather
6 "Running Late"Simon GrayUdayan Prasad11 October 1992 (1992-10-11)
Starring Peter Bowles, Michael Byrne, James Fleet, Jim McManus, Ian McNeice and Roshan Seth
7 "Losing Track"Roger EldridgeJim Lee18 October 1992 (1992-10-18)
Starring Alan Bates, Geraldine James and Michael Culver
8 "Trust Me"Tony SarchetTony Dow25 October 1992 (1992-10-25)
Starring Alfred Molina, Hywel Bennett, Jill Gascoine, Roger Lloyd-Pack, Edna Doré, Harry Towb, Derek Benfield and David Simeon
9 "Ghostwatch"Stephen VolkLesley Manning31 October 1992 (1992-10-31)


Starring Michael Parkinson, Sarah Greene, Mike Smith and Craig Charles

  • Released on DVD on 25 November 2002.[8]

Series 5 (1993)

Episode Title Written by Directed by Original airdate
1 "Wide-Eyed and Legless"Deric Longden & Jack RosenthalRichard Loncraine5 September 1993 (1993-09-05)

Starring Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Thora Hird and Moya Brady

  • Later released in cinemas. Retitled The Wedding Gift in America. Released on Region 1 DVD in 2011.[9]
2 "A Foreign Field"Roy ClarkeCharles Sturridge12 September 1993 (1993-09-12)

Starring Alec Guinness, Leo McKern, Geraldine Chaplin, Lauren Bacall, Jeanne Moreau and Dorothy Grumbar

  • Later released in cinemas. Released on DVD on 3 August 2008.[10]
3 "Down Among the Big Boys"Peter McDougallCharles Gormley19 September 1993 (1993-09-19)

Louie, the Glasgow detective son of a policeman, is about to marry the daughter of the accomplished robbery chief JoJo. Louie is placed in charge of investigating a mystery thief before his wedding. Jojo comes to realize that Louie is looking for him and wrestles with how to handle this.

Starring Douglas Henshall, Billy Connolly, John Murtagh, Ewan Stewart, Maggie Bell and Ashley Jensen

  • Released on DVD on 25 September 2006.[11]
4 "Royal Celebration"William HumbleFerdinand Fairfax26 September 1993 (1993-09-26)
Starring Kenneth Cranham, Minnie Driver, Rupert Graves, Leslie Phillips, Keira Knightley and Gordon Salkilld. This was Knightley's first screen appearance.
5 "Tender Loving Care"Lucy GannonDewi Humphreys3 October 1993 (1993-10-03)
Starring Dawn French, Rosemary Leach, Joan Sims, Peter Jones and Llewellyn Rees
6 "Money for Nothing"Tim FirthMike Ockrent10 October 1993 (1993-10-10)
Starring Julian Glover, Martin Short, Christien Anholt, Paul Reynolds, Tim Preece, Wolf Kahler and Sean Baker
7 "Wall of Silence"Maurice Gran & Laurence MarksPhilip Saville17 October 1993 (1993-10-17)
Starring Bill Paterson, Warren Mitchell, Timothy Busfield, John Bowe and Brigitte Kahn
8 "The Bullion Boys"Jim HitchmoughChristopher Morahan24 October 1993 (1993-10-24)

The true story of how Britain's gold reserve was secretly transferred to Liverpool at the start of the Second World War.

Starring David Jason, Tim Pigott-Smith, Gorden Kaye, Brenda Blethyn, Geoffrey Hutchings and Paul Angelis

  • Won the 1994 International Emmy Award for Drama.[12]

Series 6 (1994)

Episode Title Written by Directed by Original airdate
1 "Bambino Mio"Colin WellandEdward Bennett6 February 1994 (1994-02-06)


Starring Julie Walters, Georges Corraface, John McArdle and Orlando Urdaneta

  • Released on VHS on 24 January 2000.[13]
2 "A Breed of Heroes"Charles WoodDiarmuid Lawrence4 September 1994 (1994-09-04)
Starring Samuel West, Robert Bathurst, Alexander Armstrong, Daniel Flynn, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Jonathan Firth, Richard Griffiths and Shaun Dingwall
3 "Pat and Margaret"Victoria WoodGavin Millar11 September 1994 (1994-09-11)

Starring Victoria Wood, Julie Walters, Celia Imrie, Don Henderson, Duncan Preston, Thora Hird, Julie Hesmondhalgh, Shirley Stelfox, Roger Brierley, Tenniel Evans and Charles Pemberton

  • Released on DVD on 21 May 2007.[14]
4 "Two Golden Balls"Maureen ChadwickAnya Camilleri18 September 1994 (1994-09-18)
Starring Kim Cattrall, Claire Skinner, Christopher Ellison, Rowena King and Leslie Phillips
5 "Meat"Daniel BoyleJohn Madden25 September 1994 (1994-09-25)
Starring Jonny Lee Miller, Sarah-Jane Potts, Peter Wight and John Simm
6 "Murder in Mind"Jenny DiskiRobert Bierman2 October 1994 (1994-10-02)
Starring Cathryn Harrison, Trevor Eve, Anna Massey, Steven Mackintosh, Bruce Alexander and Christopher Owen
7 "Doggin' Around"Alan PlaterDesmond Davis16 October 1994 (1994-10-16)
Starring Elliott Gould, Geraldine James, Alun Armstrong, Ewan McGregor, Liz Smith, Ronnie Scott, Stephen Marcus, Jamie Foreman, Larry Lamb, Judy Flynn and Tony Caunter

Specials (1995–1998)

Episode Title Written by Directed by Original airdate
1 "The Plant"Jonathan LewisJonathan Lewis20 January 1995 (1995-01-20)
Starring Joanna Roth, Valentine Pelka, Eoin McCarthy, Sally Dexter and Ian Burfield
2 "Trip Trap"Lucy GannonDanny Hiller9 March 1996 (1996-03-09)
Starring Kevin Whately, Stella Gonet, Sue Roderick and Helen Griffin
3 "Killing Me Softly"Rebecca FraynStephen Whittaker7 July 1996 (1996-07-07)
Starring Maggie O'Neill, Peter Howitt, Julian Kerridge and Annabelle Apsion
4 "Truth or Dare"TBAJohn Madden31 August 1996 (1996-08-31)
Starring John Hannah, Helen Baxendale, Susan Lynch, Ben Daniels, John Fraser and John Michie
5 "Gobble"Ian Hislop & Nick NewmanJimmy Mulville15 February 1997 (1997-02-15)
Starring Kevin Whately, Keith Barron, Jack Dee and Peter Egan
6 "Deacon Brodie"Simon DonaldPhilip Saville8 March 1997 (1997-03-08)
Starring Billy Connolly, Patrick Malahide, Catherine McCormack, Lorcan Cranitch and Siobhan Redmond
7 "Hostile Waters"Troy Kennedy-MartinDavid Drury26 July 1997 (1997-07-26)

Starring Rutger Hauer, Martin Sheen, Max Von Sydow, Colm Feore and Michael Attwell

  • Released on VHS in 1998
8 "Our Boy"Tony GroundsDavid Evans15 February 1998 (1998-02-15)
Starring Ray Winstone, Pauline Quirke, Neil Dudgeon and Philip Jackson


  1. "Screen One". BBC. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
  2. "The Judi Dench Collection". Amazon. 5 November 2007.
  3. "BBC One – Screen One, Series 3, Hancock".
  4. "Dancin' Thru the Dark". Amazon. 26 March 2012.
  5. 2015 review by Mark Cunliffe at; retrieved 24 January 2018
  6. "Alan Bennett at the BBC". Amazon. 26 October 2009.
  7. "Adam Bede". Amazon.
  8. "Ghostwatch". Amazon. 25 November 2002.
  9. "The Wedding Gift". Amazon. 17 May 2011.
  10. "A Foreign Field". Amazon. 3 March 2008.
  11. "Down Among the Big Boys". Amazon. 25 September 2006.
  12. "Martins at War – The Bullion boys". 22 May 1940. Retrieved 5 April 2013.
  13. "Bambino Mio". Amazon. February 1999.
  14. "Pat & Margaret". Amazon. 21 May 2007.

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