Sunday, 5 January 2014

Another Sunday and Sweet FA (1972)

Another Sunday and Sweet FA is a play by Jack Rosenthal that was first broadcast on 8th January, 1972 as part of Granada TV's Sunday Night Theatre Strand. 

Eric Armistead (played by David Swift) is a Sunday league association football referee. He referees a match between Sunday league teams Parker Street Depot XI and Co-Op Albion XI, but the game is ugly and violent, and it ends with Armistead, driven to exasperation by the players, heading the ball into the net for the winning goal.

I loved Jack Rosenthal's writing and am currently working my way through a very good DVD boxset which compiles much of his work at ITV, appropriately called Jack Rosenthal at ITV

The theme for the play here was 'Fairness and unfairness', and he would explain that they were "hobbyhorses of mine and I ride them in virtually every play I've written. Another Sunday And Sweet FA made no bones about it"

Rosenthal explained that Armistead saw "life as an Immorality Play. Right never triumphs over wrong. Good never vanquishes evil. No one knows the meaning of 'fairness', which is why he's a Sunday morning referee - hoping that in his own small way, in a foreign field that's forever Manchester, he and his whistle might change the world''

It's a wonderfully, typically dry slice of Northern humour and utterly evocative of a certain period in time; the early 70s. The amateur footballers are seen trampling to the match clutching cigarettes and bemoaning the night before and the minutiae of their lives which they each to a man deem unfair for a variety of reasons. Well cast, it's populated by a host of familiar Northern faces including Last of the Summer Wine's Joe Gladwin, Corrie's Fred Feast (who used to come into my Mum's shop trivia fans!) and Lynne Carol, as well as future Corrie star Anne Kirkbride - almost unrecognisable in skimpy skin tight hotpants and a polo neck - who bagged the role of Deirdre Barlow from this. There's also Kes actors Freddie Fletcher and Duggie Brown, future Factory Records supremo Alan Erasmus and a young(ish) David Bradley.

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