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Brimstone & Treacle
‘There resides infinitely more good in the demonic than in the trivial man.’
Few TV works have shocked and appalled quite so much as Dennis Potter’s Brimstone & Treacle, an astonishing piece of mid 70s drama that was banned by then BBC Director of Programmes Alisdair Milne for being ‘brilliantly written…but nauseating’.
It tells the story of a mysterious, possibly demonic stranger named Martin (Michael Kitchen) who appears on the doorstep of married couple Tom and Amy (Denholm Elliott and Patricia Lawrence), informing them that he’s the fiancée of their daughter Pattie (Michelle Newell), who was hit by a car and left both physically and mentally disabled. As he inveigles his way into their lives, his devilish motives lay bare the rot at the heart of this suburban family.
Eventually broadcast over a decade after it was initially banned (in which time a far inferior version had been made for cinemas starring Sting), Brimstone & Treacle is an astonishingly forthright piece that asks whether good can come from evil acts and slowly reveals the true, patriarchal monster festering within British society.
The screening will be followed by a live onstage Q&A with Michelle Newell, who will be discussing her extraordinary performance as Pattie in this landmark British drama.