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Encyclopedia > State of Play
State of Play

The opening titles of State of Play.
Genre Thriller
Created by Paul Abbott
Directed by David Yates
Starring David Morrissey
John Simm
Kelly MacDonald
Polly Walker
Bill Nighy
Philip Glenister
Country of origin Flag of the United Kingdom United Kingdom
No. of episodes 6
Production
Running time 57 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel BBC
Original run 18 May 200322 June 2003

State of Play is a British television drama serial, first broadcast on BBC One in 2003. Produced in-house by the BBC, in association with independent production company Endor Productions, it was written by Paul Abbott, directed by David Yates and starred David Morrissey, John Simm, Polly Walker, and Bill Nighy. It tells the story of a newspaper's investigation into the death of a young woman, and centres around the relationship between the leading journalist and his old friend, the woman's employer. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... The thriller is a broad genre of literature, film, and television. ... now. ... David Morrissey (born June 21, 1964) is an English film, television and stage actor. ... John Ronald Simm (born July 10, 1970 in Leeds, West Yorkshire) is an English actor and musician. ... Kelly Macdonald (born February 23, 1976) is a Scottish actress, born in Glasgow, Scotland. ... Polly Walker (born 19 May 1966 in Warrington, Lancashire, England) is an English actress. ... Bill Nighy (IPA: ; born December 12, 1949) is a Golden Globe and BAFTA-award winning English actor. ... Philip Glenister (born February 10, 1963 in London, England) is a British actor, the son of director John Glenister and the brother of actor Robert Glenister. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_the_United_Kingdom. ... The British Broadcasting Corporation, which is usually known as the BBC, is the largest broadcasting corporation in the world in terms of audience numbers, employing 26,000 staff in the United Kingdom alone and with a budget of more than GB£4 billion. ... is the 138th day of the year (139th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2003 (MMIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 173rd day of the year (174th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2003 (MMIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... British television broadcasting has a range of different broadcasters, broadcasting multiple channels over a variety of distribution media. ... BBC One is the primary television channel of the BBC, and the first in the United Kingdom. ... Year 2003 (MMIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The British Broadcasting Corporation, which is usually known as the BBC, is the largest broadcasting corporation in the world in terms of audience numbers, employing 26,000 staff in the United Kingdom alone and with a budget of more than GB£4 billion. ... now. ... David Yates (born 1963 in St Helens, Merseyside) is an English film and television director. ... David Morrissey (born June 21, 1964) is an English film, television and stage actor. ... John Ronald Simm (born July 10, 1970 in Leeds, West Yorkshire) is an English actor and musician. ... Polly Walker (born 19 May 1966 in Warrington, Lancashire, England) is an English actress. ... Bill Nighy (IPA: ; born December 12, 1949) is a Golden Globe and BAFTA-award winning English actor. ...

Contents

Plot

The serial begins with the assassination of a young man, apparently a drugs killing, and the at first coincidental death of Sonia Baker, the young researcher for Member of Parliament Stephen Collins (Morrissey). As the deaths are investigated by journalist Cal McAffrey of The Herald (Simm) and his colleagues (including Kelly Macdonald as Della Smith and Nighy as editor Cameron Foster) it appears that not only were the deaths connected, but that a conspiracy links them with oil industry-backed corruption of high-ranking British government ministers. A Member of Parliament, or MP, is a representative elected by the voters to a parliament. ... Kelly Macdonald (born February 23, 1976) is a Scottish actress, born in Glasgow, Scotland. ...


However, the investigation takes another turn when McAffrey discovers that his friend Collins may be even more directly implicated in the death of Baker, with whom he was having an affair.


Overview

The serial was Paul Abbott's first attempt to write a political thriller, and he initially made the majority of the plot up as he went along. He was prompted to write the serial after BBC Head of Drama Jane Tranter asked whether he would rather write something "bigger" than he had usually written so far in his career.1 The serial was Abbott's third major writing project for the BBC, following Clocking Off (2000-2003) and Linda Green (2001-2002). 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. ... Jane Tranter (born March 17, 1963 in Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UK) is a British television drama executive, who as of August 2004 is currently the Head of Drama at BBC Television. ... Clocking Off is a British television drama series which ran on the BBC One network for four seasons from 2000 to 2003. ... Linda Green was a British television comedy-drama series that lasted for two seasons, screened in 2001 and 2002. ...

David Morrissey as beleaguered MP Stephen Collins.
John Simm as reporter Cal McAffrey.

Transmitted on BBC One on Sunday evenings at 9pm, State of Play consisted of six one-hour episodes and ran from May 18 to June 22, 2003. Episodes two to five were actually premiered on the digital television station BBC Four at 10pm on the nights of the preceding episodes' BBC One showings – episode six was held back for a BBC One premiere so as not to allow the final twists to be spoiled for those who did not have access to digital television. In 2004, the serial ran in the United States on the BBC's BBC America cable channel. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... David Morrissey (born June 21, 1964) is an English film, television and stage actor. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... John Ronald Simm (born July 10, 1970 in Leeds, West Yorkshire) is an English actor and musician. ... is the 138th day of the year (139th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 173rd day of the year (174th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2003 (MMIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Digital television (DTV) is a telecommunication system for broadcasting and receiving moving pictures and sound by means of digital signals, in contrast to analog signals used by analog (traditional) TV. DTV uses digital modulation data, which is digitally compressed and requires decoding by a specially designed television set, or a... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... BBC America is an American television network, owned and operated by BBC Worldwide, which was launched on March 29, 1998, available on both cable and satellite. ...


In 2005 the serial was released on DVD by BBC Worldwide, in a two-disc set. Episode one features an audio commentary from Abbott and Yates, and episode six a commentary from Yates, producer Hilary Bevan-Jones and editor Mark Day. Size comparison: A 12 cm Sony DVD+RW and a 19 cm Dixon Ticonderoga pencil. ... 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. ... 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. ... Hilary Bevan Jones (born 1952; sometimes credited as Hilary Bevan-Jones) is a British television producer, who has worked on several acclaimed drama programmes, including the multi-award-winning State of Play (2003). ... Mark Day is an accomplished British film editor. ...


The success of the production led to Abbott being commissioned to write a sequel, which as of January 2006 is partly written– it was commissioned before the first had even been transmitted, so impressed were BBC executives with the original.[1] However, by 2006 the second series appeared to have officially been abandoned. Abbott, talking to Mark Lawson on BBC Radio 4's Front Row in November 2006, said that he couldn't find a way to make the story work. However, on April 25, 2007, Abbott was quoted in the Sun newspaper as saying that he was currently writing scripts for a second, six-episode series of State of Play, with John Simm and Bill Nighy reprising their roles. Mark Lawson (born April 11, 1962) is a British journalist, broadcaster and author. ... BBC Radio 4 is a UK domestic radio station which broadcasts a wide variety of spoken-word programmes including news, drama, comedy, science and history. ... Front Row is a radio programme broadcast on BBC Radio 4. ... is the 115th day of the year (116th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era. ...


State of Play is currently being adapted into a feature film in the United States, with a condensed version of the original plotline, and the location changed to the US. In October 2006 it was announced that Brad Pitt is set to appear as Cal McCaffrey, originally played by John Simm. [1] This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays full 2006 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... William Bradley Brad Pitt(born December 18, 1963) is an American actor and film producer. ... John Ronald Simm (born July 10, 1970 in Leeds, West Yorkshire) is an English actor and musician. ...


Critical reception

Bill Nighy as newspaper editor Cameron Foster.

Reviewing the first episode for The Guardian newspaper the day after it had aired, Gareth McLean wrote that "...it's bloody magic. The story is gripping, the acting is ace and Paul Abbott's script is outstanding. His ear for dialogue, and for different voices, is exceptional. The exposition is swift, nifty and joyously unclunky. The characters are credible and rounded. If you can count the best dramas of recent years on the fingers of both hands, it's time to grow a new finger."[1] Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Bill Nighy (IPA: ; born December 12, 1949) is a Golden Globe and BAFTA-award winning English actor. ... The Guardian is a British newspaper owned by the Guardian Media Group. ... Gareth McLean is a Scottish journalist who writes for The Guardian newspaper and the Radio Times magazine. ...


Other newspaper critics were similarly impressed with the opening instalment. In The Times, Paul Hoggart wrote that "Two excellent performances [from Morrissey and Simm] ensure that the relationship has a turbulent dynamism that is credible and engaging."[2] James Walton in The Daily Telegraph was more cautious, feeling that the opening episode had been promising but the serial as a whole still had the potential to go wrong. "At this stage however, the programme is certainly good enough to make me hope not and to ensure that I'll be back next week to find out."[3] The Times is a national newspaper published daily in the United Kingdom since 1788. ... Paul Hoggart is a television critic and columist. ... This article concerns the British newspaper. ...


The consensus appeared to be that the serial did maintain its quality to the end. Previewing episode four, Jonathan Wright of The Guide section in The Guardian described it as "A political conspiracy thriller that's as buttock-clenchingly tense as Edge of Darkness, as cynical about the British political system as House of Cards, and stands comparisons to both."[4] The television critic of The Independent, Thomas Sutcliffe, wrote of the final episode: "I'm not sure that a thriller can end in anything other than anti- climax. If it has been good you're sad it's over, and if it ends badly you're quite likely to feel that you've been duped. Paul Abbott's State of Play, which has had me swallowing double doses on a Sunday evening whenever the schedules allowed, left us with the first kind of let-down rather than the second."[5] Bob Peck as Yorkshire police officer Ronald Craven, investigating what appears to be the accidental killing of his daughter. ... House of Cards was a political thriller novel written by Michael Dobbs, a former Chief of Staff at Conservative Party headquarters, which was set at the end of Margaret Thatchers tenure as British Prime Minister. ... The Independent is a British compact newspaper published by Tony OReillys Independent News & Media. ... Thomas Sutcliffe may refer to: Thomas Sutcliffe (artist) Thomas Sutcliffe Mort, the Australian industrialist. ...


Bill Nighy won the British Academy Television Award for Best Actor for his role. The series also won BAFTAs for Best Sound (Fiction/Entertainment) and Best Editing (Fiction/Entertainment). It was nominated, but did not win, in the Best Actor category again, for Morrissey; in the Best Drama Serial category; Best Original Television Music and Best Photography and Lighting. It also won major awards from the Royal Television Society, Banff Television Festival, Broadcasting Press Guild, Cologne Conference, Directors Guild of Great Britain, Edgar Awards, and the Monte Carlo TV Festival.[6] BAFTA Award The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), is a British organisation that hosts annual awards shows for film, television, childrens film and television, and interactive media. ... The Royal Television Society is a British-based society for the discussion, analysis and preservation of television in all its forms, past, present and future. ... The Banff television festival recently celebrated its 25th Anniversary as Canadas premier internation event celebrating television and new media. ... The Broadcasting Press Guild is a British association of journalists who specialise in writing and broadcasting about television, radio and the media generally. ... The Directors Guild of Great Britain is an organisation set up in London to represent directors in all media: film, television, theatre, radio, opera, commercials, corporate, multimedia and new technology. ... The Edgar Allan Poe Awards (popularly called the Edgars), named after Edgar Allan Poe, are presented every year by the Mystery Writers of America. ...


References

Newspapers:

  1. ^ a b McLean, Gareth. TV review: The genuine article. "The Guardian". Monday May 19 2003.
  2. ^ MediaGuardian.co.uk "First Night" newspaper television review round-up, Monday May 19 2003. Retrieved on September 21 2005.
  3. ^ Ibid.
  4. ^ Wright, Jonathan. Watch This: State of Play, 9pm, BBC1. "The Guardian" ("The Guide" section). Saturday June 7 2003.
  5. ^ Sutcliffe, Thomas. The Weekend's Television: The sticky end of the thriller. "The Independent". Monday June 23 2003.
  6. ^ Internet Movie Database awards page for State of Play. Retrieved on September 21 2005.

Television: is the 139th day of the year (140th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 264th day of the year (265th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... June 7 is the 158th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (159th in leap years), with 207 days remaining. ... is the 174th day of the year (175th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...

Websites: The South Bank Show is a British television arts magazine show, presented by Melvyn Bragg and seen in over 60 countries — including Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Sweden and the USA. Its stated aim is to bring both high art and popular culture to a mass audience. ... Independent Television (generally known as ITV, but also as ITV Network) is a public service network of British commercial television broadcasters, set up under the Independent Television Authority (ITA) to provide competition to the BBC. ITV is the oldest commercial television network in the UK. Since 1990 and the Broadcasting... is the 135th day of the year (136th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...


External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
state of play (724 words)
As befits the status of a lab, the works in State of Play are the first iterations of a new genre.
The intention of State of Play is not to address the ideologies of individual works, but to examine how they are constructed using the interactive interface of games, as platforms for cultural criticism and discussion.
You play a social activist who is trying to directly influence the board of a real corporation.
State of Play (542 words)
If there's a drawback to State of Play's combination of witty writing and smart performances, it's that there are very few moments where the viewer is going to feel comfortable about going into the kitchen for a coke and a sandwich.
Like any well-made political thriller, State of Play is believable enough to raise the question of where human consequences fit in when it comes to affairs of state and the pursuit of the truth.
When they are touched personally, suddenly they're no longer "playing." McCaffrey's abilities as a reporter are undermined by his friendship with Collins and when Della Smith realizes she's in personal danger she changes quickly from a hard-edged journalist to a frightened and vulnerable girl.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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