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Encyclopedia > Pennies from Heaven (1981 film)
The opening title sequence to the first episode of Pennies from Heaven.
The opening title sequence to the first episode of Pennies from Heaven.

Pennies From Heaven is a 1978 BBC television drama serial by the highly-regarded television playwright Dennis Potter. The title is taken from a famous song of the same name written by Johnny Burke and Arthur Johnston. It was noteworthy for being the first of several Potter productions (The Singing Detective, Lipstick on Your Collar) which mixed the reality of the drama with a dark fantasy content, having several of the main characters burst into miming to popular 1930s songs. Image File history File links Penniesfromheaven. ... Image File history File links Penniesfromheaven. ... 1978 (MCMLXXVIII) was a common year starting on Sunday. ... Cathy Come Home, a 1966 entry into The Wednesday Play anthology series, voted the best drama and second highest programme overall in the British Film Institutes 2000 survey of the 100 Greatest British Television Programmes of the 20th century. ... Serial is a term, originating in literature, for a format by which a story is told in contiguous installments in sequential issues of a single periodical publication. ... Liber Amoris Dennis Christopher George Potter (17 May 1935—7 June 1994) was a controversial British dramatist who is best known for several widely acclaimed television dramas which mixed fantasy and reality, the personal and the social. ... Johnny Burke was a songwriter who died in 1930 Johnny Burke (October 3, 1908 - February 25, 1964) was an American lyric writer. ... The Singing Detective The Singing Detective was a 1986 BBC television miniseries, written by Dennis Potter and starring Michael Gambon. ... Lipstick on your Collar is a 1993 Television serial written by Dennis Potter. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...



Starring Bob Hoskins in the role that made his reputation in the UK, the serial was directed by Piers Haggard and produced by (long-time Potter collaborator) Kenith Trodd. Co-starring were Gemma Craven as Joan Parker, Cheryl Campbell as Eileen, Kenneth Colley as the Accordion Man, and Hywel Bennett as Tom. Other notable members of the supporting cast included: Nigel Havers as Conrad Baker (the suave salesman); Rosemary Martin as Marjorie (the Gloucestershire whore); Jenny Logan as Irene (Joan's friend); Freddie Jones as Mr.Warner (Eileen's headmaster); Peter Cellier as (Arthur's) Bank Manager; Michael Biltern as Eileen's dad; Will Stamp as the Barman; Tudor Davies as the cafe customer (Davies was also choreographer for the series); Ronald Fraser as Major Paxville (Eileen's John); Dave King as the police inspector (who visits Joan): Philip Locke as the farmer (killed by Eileen); Peter Bowles as Prosecuting Counsel. Bob Hoskins Robert William Bob Hoskins (born October 26, 1942) is a British actor best known for playing Cockney rough diamonds and gangsters, and for family films such as Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988, Eddie Valiant). ... Piers Haggard (born March 18, 1939 in London, England, UK) is a British film and television director, although he has worked mostly in the latter medium. ... Gemma Craven (born 1 June 1950 in Dublin, Ireland), is a British actress. ... Cheryl Campbell is a British actress of stage, film and television who is perhaps best known for her starring role as Vera Brittain in the BBCs television dramatization of Testament of Youth (1979), for which she received a British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) award for best... Kenneth Colley is a British actor. ... Hywel Thomas Bennett (born 8 April 1944) is a Welsh actor, born in Garnant, Carmarthenshire, Wales. ... The Honorable Nigel Allan Havers (born 6 November 1949) is a popular British actor, known mainly for his television work. ... Rosemary Martin is a British actress, equally well remembered for her sitcom roles (Mrs. ... Gloucestershire (pronounced ; GLOSS-ter-sher) is a county in South West England. ... Jenny Logan is a British actress. ... Freddie Jones (born September 12, 1927) is a British character actor. ... Peter Cellier is an English actor who has appeared in film, stage and television. ... Ronald Fraser, known as Ronnie, (born 11 April 1930) was a British actor who was part of the 1950s and 1960s film scene in the UK. The numerous film credits to his name include two versions of Pygmalion, Trial of the Pink Panther, the raunchy Come Play With Me, The... Dave King (hockey) is a Hockey coach for Metallurg Magnitogorsk, a team that plays in the Russian Hockey Super League. ... Philip Locke (born 29 March 1928 in London, England) is an actor. ... Peter Bowles (born October 16, 1936) is a British actor. ...

Pennies From Heaven also featured various cast who featured in previous and subsequent Potter productions. Bob Hoskins played Blake in Schmoedipus (BBC Play for Today, 1974); Freddie Jones played Joe Jones in Joe's Ark (BBC Play for Today, 1974) and Fall in Potter's adaptation of The Mayor of Casterbridge (BBC, 1978); Hywel Bennett played Willy Turner in Where the Buffalo Roam (BBC The Wednesday Play, 1966) and Arthur Mailion in Karaoke (BBC/Channel 4, 1996); and Cheryl Campbell played Janet in Rain on the Roof (LWT, 1980). The Play for Today logo, seen here in the opening title sequence from 1976. ... The Mayor of Casterbridge is a 1886 novel by English author Thomas Hardy. ... The Wednesday Play was a British television drama anthology series, which ran on BBC ONE from 1964 to 1970. ... Karaoke was a television play written by Dennis Potter with the knowledge that he was dying from cancer of the pancreas. ... Channel 4 is a public service television broadcaster in the United Kingdom (see British television). ... London Weekend Television logo, 1978-1996 London Weekend Television Limited (LWT) is the ITV contractor for London, Friday 5:15pm to Monday, 5:59am. ...

From a technical perspective, Pennies was the last of Potter's television dramas to be filmed in a mix of on-location 16mm film and in-studio videotape. The production involved six weeks of filming on location, most of it in Oxfordshire, but with selected shooting in Potter's home country of the Forest of Dean (in Gloucestershire, between the River Severn and the River Wye). The school where Eileen teaches is the actual Forest school Potter attended, and the children who populate the school scenes were local children (cast as extras). In temporary remission from his chronic condition of psoriatic arthropathy (a rare skin & joints disease that first afflicted him at the age of twenty-four), Potter and his wife Margaret were able to visit the location shoot in Dean. (Redirected from 16mm film) 16mm film was initially created in the 1920s as an inexpensive amateur alternative to the conventional 35 mm film format. ... Bottom view of VHS videotape cassette with magnetic tape exposed Videotape is a means of recording television pictures and accompanying sound onto magnetic tape as opposed to movie film. ... Oxfordshire (abbreviated Oxon, from the Latinised form Oxonia) is a county in south-east England, bordering on Northamptonshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, and Warwickshire. ... The (Royal) Forest of Dean is a region in the county of Gloucestershire, England. ... The source of the River Severn on Plynlimon, Wales. ... River Wye and Lancat and Ban y Gore Nature Reserve The Wye at Hay-on-Wye The Wye at Tintern This article is about the river that flows along the Anglo-Welsh border. ... Photograph of an arm covered with plaque psoriasis Psoriasis is a disease whose main symptom is gray or silvery flaky patches on the skin which are red and inflamed underneath when scratched. ...

Pennies was transmitted in six episodes (each of approximately 75 minutes) from March 7 to April 11, 1978, on the BBC1 channel (the actual lengths of each episide vary). In its year of broadcast, Pennies won the British Academy Television Award for Most Original Programme (Hoskins & Campbell were also nominated for BAFTA acting awards). In a 2000 poll of industry professionals conducted by the British Film Institute to find the 100 Greatest British Television Programmes of the 20th century, Pennies from Heaven was placed at #21. March 7 is the 66th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (67th in leap years). ... April 11 is the 101st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (102nd in leap years). ... 1978 (MCMLXXVIII) was a common year starting on Sunday. ... BBC One (or BBC1 as it was formerly styled) is the oldest television station in the world. ... The British Academy Television Awards, also known as the BAFTAs or, to differentiate them from the BAFTA Film Awards, the BAFTA Television Awards, are the most prestigious awards given in the British television industry, analogous to the Emmy Awards in the United States. ... This article is about the year 2000. ... The British Film Institute (BFI) is a charitable organisation established by Royal Charter to encourage the development of the arts of film, television and the moving image throughout the United Kingdom, to promote their use as a record of contemporary life and manners, to promote education about film, television and... 100 Greatest British Television Programmes was a list compiled in 2000 by the British Film Institute (BFI) chosen by a poll of industry professionals, to determine what were the greatest British television programmes of any genre ever to have been screened. ... (19th century - 20th century - 21st century - more centuries) Decades: 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s As a means of recording the passage of time, the 20th century was that century which lasted from 1901–2000 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar (1900–1999...

Film adaptation

In 1981, the series was adapted as a film, starring Steve Martin. Potter adapted his own screenplay, and Herbert Ross directed. Potter was nominated for the 1981 Academy Award for Writing Adapted Screenplay — according to The Times, MGM had him rewrite the script thirteen times. By most accounts, the movie was a resounding flop, despite the contributions of Bernadette Peters (as Eileen), Christopher Walken (as Tom) and Vernel Bagneris (as the Accordion Man). The MGM deal with Potter had multiple ramifications. Said producer Trodd in a 1990 Times article: "Bob [Hoskins] and Cheryl [Campbell] were terribly upset that they weren't considered for the film. I think they still blame Dennis and me in some way, but there was no way to argue the point with MGM.'" 1981 (MCMLXXXI) was a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Film is a term that encompasses motion pictures as individual projects, as well as—in metonymy—the field in general. ... Steve Martin (right) with Scooter, on The Muppet Show Stephen Glenn Martin (born August 14, 1945) is an American comedian, writer, producer, actor, musician, and composer. ... Herbert David Ross (May 13, 1927 in Brooklyn, New York - October 9, 2001 in New York City), also known as Herb Ross, was a prolific film director, producer, choreographer and actor from the 1950s to the 1990s. ... The Academy Award for Writing Adapted Screenplay is one of the Academy Awards, the most prominent film awards in the United States. ... The Times is a national newspaper published daily in the United Kingdom since 1785, and under its current name since 1788. ... Bernadette Peters Bernadette Peters is the stage name of Bernadette Lazzara (born February 28, 1948 in Ozone Park, Queens, New York City), an actress and singer. ... Christopher Walken in The Dogs of War (1981). ...

MGM also required Potter to buy back his copyright from the BBC (according to the same 1990 Times article, Potter paid the BBC "something over $100,000" for the script). In addition, MGM prohibited broadcast of the BBC's own production of Pennies for approximately ten years. In 1989 or thereabouts, at the prompting of Alan Yentob, the controller of BBC2, Trodd was able to buy back the rights from MGM at "a very inconsiderable sum." The BBC promptly rebroadcast Pennies for the first time since its original transmission in February of 1990. Alan Yentob (born March 11, 1947) is a British television executive. ... BBC Two (or BBC2 as it was formerly styled) was the second UK television station to be aired by the BBC and Europes first television channel to broadcast regularly in colour (from 1967), envisaged as a home for less mainstream and more ambitious programming. ...


The original television version was released on DVD by BBC Worldwide in 2004. The first and sixth episodes feature an optional audio commentary from Haggard and Trodd. DVD (also known as Digital Versatile Disc or Digital Video Disc) is an optical disc storage media format that can be used for data storage, including movies with high video and sound quality. ... BBC Worldwide Limited is the wholly-owned commercial subsidiary of the British Broadcasting Corporation, formed out of a restructuring of its predecessor BBC Enterprises in 1995. ... 2004 (MMIV) was a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... A major selling point of DVD video is that its storage capacity allows for a wide variety of extra features in addition to the feature film itself. ...

Potter's memorial service in November of 1994 (at St James's Church in Piccadilly) began with those in attendance singing Roll Along Prairie Moon to the accompaniment of a jazz quintet. Cheryl Campbell and Freddie Jones read their scene in the schoolroom from Pennies: "As Jones stifled his tears, Campbell said: 'Nobody ever ever stops yearning' . . . In a comic interlude Michael Grade, chief executive of Channel 4, Alan Yentob, controller of BBC1, and Kenith Trodd, Potter's producer, read a scene from Pennies. [And Trodd] told of their last meeting before the playwright's death from cancer: 'Dennis slugging Courvoisier, fortified by liquid heroin and morphine . . . after an hour he seemed to crumple and he said, 'I do have one very real fear of death. It is that you might get asked to speak at my memorial service'."[1] Piccadilly is a major London street, running from Hyde Park Corner in the west to Piccadilly Circus in the east. ... Michael Ian Grade CBE (born March 8, 1943) is a British born businessman from a Jewish background, and a distinguished figure in the field of broadcasting. ... Alan Yentob (born March 11, 1947) is a British television executive. ...


  1.   The Independent, November 2, 1994.

The Independent is a British compact newspaper published by Tony OReillys Independent News & Media. ... November 2 is the 306th day of the year (307th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 59 days remaining. ... 1994 (MCMXCIV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated as the International Year of the Family and the International Year of the Sport and the Olympic Ideal by United Nations. ...

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