"Another Sunday and Sweet F.A."
ITV Sunday Night Theatre episode
Episode no.Series 4
Episode 12
Directed byMichael Apted
Written byJack Rosenthal
Original air date9 January 1972 (1972-01-09)

"Another Sunday and Sweet F.A." is a television play written by Jack Rosenthal and directed by Michael Apted for Granada Television and which was first broadcast on 9 January 1972 in the ITV Sunday Night Theatre strand. It stars David Swift, Freddie Fletcher and Gordon McGrase. It also features Anne Kirkbride, who as a result of her performance was cast in Coronation Street in the role of Deirdre Barlow.[1]

The play won the TV Critics' Circle Best Play of the Year Award.[2][3]

Plot

Eric Armistead (David Swift) is a Sunday league association football referee. Rosenthal explained that for him "life is 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."[2] 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 the referee, driven to exasperation by the players, heading the ball into the net for the winning goal.[citation needed]

Cast

Critical reaction

At the time of broadcast, Chris Dunkley in The Times was critical calling it "not a bad play" that "failed continually to live up to a feeling of promise, and a hint of something better to come". However, Dunkley praised Swift's performance in what was "an unusual part for any actor".[4]

Later appraisals have been more favourable. Peter Sharkey in 2005 called it "possibly the greatest dramatic portrayal of football ever seen on our screens", praising details like players arriving clutching cigarettes and the goalkeeper arguing with his girlfriend as he leans against the posts, as well as the atmosphere of alcohol and bad pitches.[5]

The BFI website says "Not much happens ... but the accumulation of detail exudes authenticity."[2] Leslie Halliwell in his Teleguide (1979) calls it an "amusing north-country comedy".[6]

It is held in high esteem by specialist sports writers. Frank Keating called it a "classic" of sport-themed drama.[7] Peter Seddon of The Times included in his list of ten classic football dramas.[8]

DVD

It was included in the 2006 DVD box set Jack Rosenthal at ITV.[9]

References

  1. ^ "Deirdre Barlow". Stv.tv. 17 December 2008. Archived from the original on 13 January 2014. Retrieved 4 September 2013.
  2. ^ a b c "Another Sunday and Sweet F.A. (1972)". BFI Screenonline. Retrieved 24 April 2013.
  3. ^ "Jack Rosenthal | Tv Greats | A Television Heaven Biography". Televisionheaven.co.uk. Archived from the original on 15 October 2012. Retrieved 4 September 2013.
  4. ^ Chris Dunkley "Another Sunday and", The Times (London, England), 10 January 1972; p. 8; Issue 58371.
  5. ^ "Putting on their Sunday worst", Sharkey, Peter, South Wales Evening Post, 21 October 2005, section Sport, p. 48
  6. ^ Leslie Halliwell Halliwell's Teleguide, 1979, p. 12
  7. ^ Frank Keating (15 November 2006). "Sixty-six and all that". The Spectator. Retrieved 4 September 2013.
  8. ^ "Box to box", Peter Seddon, The Times, 10 November 2001
  9. ^ "Out this week DVDs", The Sunday Telegraph, 18 June 2006, Nexis. Web. Date accessed: 2013/04/24.