Play for Today (1970–1984)
4 user 1 critic


Six wannabe stand-up comedians attend an evening class run by Eddie Waters. Eddie is a professional comic and he's determined to teach them that comedy is much more than just jokes.


Richard Eyre


Trevor Griffiths (by)


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Episode complete credited cast:
Bill Fraser Bill Fraser ... Eddie Waters
Jonathan Pryce ... Gethin Price
David Burke ... Mick Connor
Linal Haft ... Sammy Samuels
Derrick O'Connor ... George McBrain
Edward Peel ... Ged Murray
James Warrior James Warrior ... Phil Murray
Ralph Nossek Ralph Nossek ... Bert Challenor
John Barrett ... Caretaker
Moti Makan Moti Makan ... Mr. Patel
Mike Henson Mike Henson ... Concert Secretary


Six wannabe stand-up comedians attend an evening class run by Eddie Waters. Eddie is a professional comic and he's determined to teach them that comedy is much more than just jokes.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Comedy | Drama







Release Date:

25 October 1979 (UK) See more »

Filming Locations:

England, UK

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

Epitomises the reactionary view of Play for Today
3 October 2019 | by nigel-18854See all my reviews

Michael Gove described the Play for Today catalogue as '...exercises in viewer patronisation,' it seems he doesn't let his status as an ex minister for education hinder his propensity for inventive grammar. Although I would say he's probably on the money for about half of the scripts aired as a Play for Today, the rest can be divided half and half between middling and reasonably good. So about 1 in 5 scripts are reasonably watchable. Comedians though is firmly ensconced behind Gove's 'patronisation' barricade.

You're only gonna get anything out of Comedians for one of two reasons: 1 the script massages your own political prejudice. 2 your interested in examining an extreme example of political prejudice being indulged. Essentially the premise behind the rationale being promoted by this script is exactly the same one that's been foisted upon the masses since they started prancing around in masks in Athenian amphitheatres. That being, that all this story telling malarkey, entertainment for the common man and his misses etcetera, is dangerous and must be controlled. Except that with Comedians, we're left to infer a motive for control as we're fed a succession of exclamations of woe at the pitiful state of the comedic art.

Oh those poor working classes, if only they'd stop taking the piss out of each other.

Yep this is patronising all right, paternalistic too but you discover, it is curiously consistent in the way -the message- is conveyed. I then realised that it's consistent because it is inspired directly by Marxist ideology, which I can tell you has been mulled and hammered out, over many decades. In the Marxist church, personal expression must be controlled, in the same way that Marxism's predecessor controlled it through moral prescription. So in the old days, you were prevented by expressing your desire to shag the squire's daughter because it was immoral whereas today it's politically incorrect. Did you see that, not immoral, just incorrect. Who decides what's immoral, God? I dunno maybe, but I suspect it's more a question of norms derived through a social consensus. Who decides what's incorrect? Why professor Marx of course and his and his army of capriote adorned drones.

And so the script progresses and we come to the point where it has to say something positive, if having fun is evil what are we supposed to laugh at instead? Well the answer turns out to be nothing, instead you're supposed to be agonising over the fate of the proletariat and the injustice of it all. Right up to the point the revolution happens at which point instead of rejoicing, you commence bemoaning the legacy of past injustice.

It's not too much of a surprise when, as the drama comes to a close, it all ends up in Lower Silesia. Because somehow, the thought of an agonising death in the gas chamber for so many innocent people, is ironic. Yeah well -- the only thing I have to say about that is -- tenuous!

So whodathought that Michael Gove and I would agree on anything?

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