Playhouse Presents

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Playhouse Presents
Playhouse Presents title card.jpg
Season two title card
Starring Various
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 3
No. of episodes 28
Location(s) UK
Running time 30 minutes
Production company(s) Sky Arts
Original channel Sky Arts 1
Original run April 12, 2012 (2012-04-12) – present
External links
Production website

Playhouse Presents is a series of self-contained TV plays, made by British broadcaster Sky Arts. The series started airing on 12 April 2012, on Sky Arts 1. Each episode is written by a different writer and stars a different cast.[1] The second series began airing in April 2013.[2] A third season began airing 1 May 2014.[3]

Sky Arts have announced that they are ordering a five-part spin-off of the third play, Nixon’s The One. They say the full cast, including Harry Shearer as Nixon and Henry Goodman as Kissinger, will return for the series run, which will be filmed in September 2012. The series will broadcast in 2013.[4]

The four-part adaptation of A Country Doctor's Notebook starring Jon Hamm and Daniel Radcliffe was also broadcast on the strand in December 2012. It became the most successful series in the history of Sky Arts and a second series was commissioned, set to air in late 2013.[5]

Sky Arts announced two films, Foxtrot and Nightshift, for the Playhouse Presents strand in late 2013.[6]


Series Episodes Originally aired
Series premiere Series finale
1 11 April 12, 2012 (2012-04-12) June 21, 2012 (2012-06-21)
2 14 April 18, 2013 (2013-04-18) July 4, 2013 (2013-07-04)
3 1 May 1, 2014 (2014-05-01)

Series 1 (2012)[edit]

No. Title Directed by Written by Original air date
1 "Minor Character" Will Self April 12, 2012 (2012-04-12)
David Tennant stars as Will, a cynical writer whose reminiscences about a dinner party with his group of friends leads him to make some startling realisations about himself, his friends, his life, and his place in it.[7]
2 "Nellie & Melba" Paul O'Grady and Sandi Toksvig April 19, 2012 (2012-04-19)
Set in 1979, it centres around a 51-year old man named Neville (Paul O'Grady) and his mother Melba (Sheila Hancock) who perform as a double act and dream of stardom.[8]
3 "Nixon's The One" Ed Bye[10] Judith Owen[11] April 26, 2012 (2012-04-26)
Harry Shearer stars as Richard Nixon, in a play based on the Watergate tapes.[9]
4 "King of the Teds" Jim Cartwright Jim Cartwright May 3, 2012 (2012-05-03)
Starring Tom Jones as Ron, Alison Steadman as Tina, and Brenda Blethyn as Nina. Aging singer Ron is troubled by the failure of his musical career, and his fading marriage to Tina. When their old friend Nina visits for the first time in 40 years, fond reminiscences soon give way to explosive revelations.[12]
5 "City Hall" Richard Loncraine Rhashan Stone May 10, 2012 (2012-05-10)
Olivia Williams stars as Dorothy Green, a working-class mum who lands the job of London Mayor after her defiant stand against rioters becomes an internet hit. Co-starring Rhashan Stone, Lucy Punch and Martin Shaw.[13]
6 "Care" Amanda Boyle Chloe Moss May 17, 2012 (2012-05-17)
Middle class and middle aged, district nurse Natalie (Gina McKee) has become trapped in an existence of meaningless routine until she’s drawn into the lives of two very different women - Elsie, an elderly lady nearing the end of her life and Sammy (Aimee Kelly), the young girl next door, who seemingly has everything to live for.[14]
7 "The Snipist" Matthew Holness Matthew Holness May 24, 2012 (2012-05-24)
In this black drama starring Douglas Henshall, we follow a lone sniper struggling to maintain sanity in a dystopian, rabies-ridden alternate 1970s Britain ruled over by an ominous Ministry of Information. Ordered to watch and protect stranded survivors, the Snipist must fend off attacks from rabid dogs and protect what remains of his own humanity, but is reality exactly as he sees it? In a dark journey through the recesses of the human mind, he rediscovers the grim reality of mankind's own animalistic instincts.[15]
8 "Walking the Dogs" Jeremy Brock Helen Greaves May 31, 2012 (2012-05-31)
In this comedy drama based on a real life incident, known as the Michael Fagan incident of 1982, we follow the Queen (Emma Thompson), one of her staff (Russell Tovey) and an intruder (Eddie Marsan) over the dramatic half hour which he spends in her bedroom.[16]
9 "The Man" Iain Softley Sandi Toksvig June 7, 2012 (2012-06-07)
Stephen Fry, Zoë Wanamaker, Stellan Skarsgård and Hayley Atwell star in Sandi Toksvig’s chilling look at how an unelected few decide the fate of the masses.[17]
10 "The Other Woman" Mike Barker Joshua St Johnson June 14, 2012 (2012-06-14)
Trevor Eve, Geraldine James, Richard E Grant and Tom Ellis get caught in the blurred lines between real life and fiction.[18]
11 "Psychobitches" Jeremy Dyson[20] June 21, 2012 (2012-06-21)
This comedy puts history’s most famous women into the psychiatrist’s chair. Starring Rebecca Front as the therapist, and featuring Catherine Tate as Eva Braun and Édith Piaf, Sharon Horgan as Jane Austen and Frida Kahlo, Katy Brand as Joan of Arc and George Eliot, Sheila Reid as Mother Teresa, Sam Spiro as Mary Whitehouse and Judy Garland, Selina Griffiths as Beatrix Potter and Andy Nyman as Sarah, Abraham’s wife.[19]

Series 2 (2013)[edit]

No. Title Directed by Written by Original air date
1 "Hey Diddly Dee" Marc Warren Marc Warren April 18, 2013 (2013-04-18)[22]
A dark comedy-drama about the tension during rehearsals for a West End play about Andy Warhol, starring Kylie Minogue, Mathew Horne, Peter Serafinowicz, David Harewood, Paul Kaye and Lee Boardman.[21]
2 "Snodgrass" David Blair David Quantick April 25, 2013 (2013-04-25)[22]
Based on a novella by Ian R MacLeod, the story follows a fifty year old John Lennon, played by Ian Hart, and explores what his life would have been like if he had walked out on The Beatles in 1962.[23]
3 "The Call Out" Carlo Gabriel Nero Carlo Gabriel Nero May 2, 2013 (2013-05-02)[22]
Based on a short story by Leonard B. Francavilla, it follows Policeman Len (Stephen Graham) as he discovers the loneliness of the city when he meets widower Samantha Bond and elderly woman Vanessa Redgrave during a call to a disturbance on the seventh floor of a block of flats.[24]
4 "Pavement Psychologist" Idris Elba Idris Elba May 9, 2013 (2013-05-09)[22]
A drama about the relationship between an accountant (Anna Friel), and a charismatic homeless man (Nonso Anozie).[25]
5 "Mr Understood" Kate Hardie Kate Hardie May 16, 2013 (2013-05-16)[22]
Tom Brooke plays Gary, a young transvestite battling with issues of self-doubt, portrayed through the personification of his inner voice, Frank (Tommy McDonnell). An encounter with fellow transvestite Jim (Neil Dudgeon) helps Gary accept himself, as Jim's inner voice Linda (Claire Skinner) displays his own insecurities.[26]
6 "Stage Door Johnnies" Catherine McCormack Catherine McCormack and Laura Power May 23, 2013 (2013-05-23)[22]
Filmed in a 'mockumentary' style, the story follows five local enthusiasts as a production of Romeo and Juliet starring Suranne Jones and John Nettles arrives in their town. The fans consist of Marco (Alex MacQueen), an amateur critic, Tony (Steve Evets) a man who makes gifts for the stars, Susan (Anna Calder-Marshall) and Meg (Felicity Montagu), two women who John Nettles has a restraining order against and Ralph (Tom Davis), the quiet observer of the group.[27]
7 "Psychobitches Part One" Jeremy Dyson Jeremy Dyson, Bert Tyler-Moore, George Jeffrie, Ali Crockatt, David Scott, Lucy Montgomery, Kathy Burke, Derren Litten, Holly Walsh and Freddy Syborn May 30, 2013 (2013-05-30)[22]
The first of a five part series starring Rebecca Front as a therapist, who talks to various iconic women from history including Julia Davis as Sylvia Plath, Sharon Horgan as Eva Peron, Samantha Spiro as Audrey Hepburn, Mark Gatiss as Joan Crawford, Frances Barber as Bette Davis, Kathy Burke as Mona Lisa, Katy Brand as Mary Shelley and Katy Brand, Selina Griffiths and Sarah Solemani as the Bronte sisters.[28]
8 "Cargese" Matt Smith Simon Stephens May 30, 2013 (2013-05-30)[22]
A drama about two teenagers stuck on a council estate. Carl (Craig Roberts) is about to go to college leaving Stephen (Joe Cole) alone to look after his dying mother and mentally challenged brother resulting in Stephen's behaviour to become erratic.[29]
9 "Psychobitches Part Two" Jeremy Dyson Jeremy Dyson, Bert Tyler-Moore, George Jeffrie, Ali Crockatt, David Scott, Lucy Montgomery and Jessie Cave June 6, 2013 (2013-06-06)[22]
The second of a five part series starring Rebecca Front as a therapist, who talks to various iconic women from history. In this episode the patients are played by Julia Davis, Sharon Horgan, Samantha Spiro, Frances Barber, Mathew Baynton, Katy Brand, Sharon D. Clarke, Selina Griffiths and Steve Pemberton. The episode includes Diana Dors, Marilyn Monroe, Doris Stokes, The Virgin Mary, Virginia Woolf, Gala Dalí, Cleopatra, Bessie Smith, Dian Fossey, Enid Blyton and Beatrix Potter.[28]
10 "Ragged" Johnny Vegas Andrew Lynch and Johnny Vegas June 6, 2013 (2013-06-06)[22]
Starring Ricky Tomlinson, this story is based on Ricky’s true experiences campaigning for justice in an effort to overturn a verdict which sent him to jail for 2 years in the early 1970s. During his time in prison and on hunger strike, Ricky’s life is changed forever by a prison governor who encourages him to read Robert Tressell’s book The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists.[30]
11 "Psychobitches Part Three" Jeremy Dyson Jeremy Dyson, Bert Tyler-Moore, George Jeffrie, Ali Crockatt, David Scott, Lucy Montgomery, Julia Davis, Jamie Lennox, Holly Walsh and Louis Waymouth June 13, 2013 (2013-06-13)[22]
The third of a five part series starring Rebecca Front as a therapist, who talks to various iconic women from history. In this episode the patients are played by Julia Davis, Sharon Horgan, Samantha Spiro, Selina Griffiths, Joanna Scanlan, Reece Shearsmith and Jack Whitehall. The episode includes Elizabeth Taylor, Amalia Freud, Barbara Woodhouse, Old Mother Shipton, Joy Adamson, Diana Spencer, Leni Riefenstahl, Marie Curie and Madame de Pompadour.[28]
12 "Gifted" Marc Evans Angela Pell June 13, 2013 (2013-06-13)[22]
Rhys Ifans plays Chris, an outsider with a secret ability, who falls in love for the first time with Mona (Sarah Smart). Eventually learning to accept and embrace his unusual 'gift'.[31]
13 "Psychobitches Part Four" Jeremy Dyson Jeremy Dyson, Ali Crockatt, David Scott, Derren Litten and Freddy Syborn June 20, 2013 (2013-06-20)[22]
The fourth of a five part series starring Rebecca Front as a therapist, who talks to various iconic women from history. In this episode the patients are played by Julia Davis, Sharon Horgan, Samantha Spiro, Katy Brand, Tamsin Egerton, Michelle Gomez and Ted Robbins. The episode includes Emmeline Pankhurst, Barbara Castle, Helen of Troy, Lot's Wife, Mary Queen of Scots, Nancy Spungen, Eve and Mary Shelley.[28]
14 "Psychobitches Part Five" Jeremy Dyson Jeremy Dyson, Kathy Burke, Ali Crockatt, David Scott, Derren Litten, David Scott, Lucy Montgomery, Bert Tyler-Moore and George Jeffrie June 27, 2013 (2013-06-27)[22]
The last of a five part series starring Rebecca Front as a therapist, who talks to various iconic women from history. In this episode the patients are played by Julia Davis, Sharon Horgan, Samantha Spiro, Zawe Ashton, Frances Barber, Kathy Burke, Harry Enfield, Sheila Reid, Sarah Solemani and Tom Stuart. The episode includes Boudica, Jackie Kennedy, Mary Pickford, Eartha Kitt, Mona Lisa, Anne Frank, Catherine the Great, Betty Ford, Alfred Hitchcock and Queen Victoria.[28]

Series 3 (2014)[edit]

No. Title Directed by Written by Original air date
1 "The Dog Thrower" Jon Ronson Jon Ronson May 1, 2014 (2014-05-01)[33]
Lonely man Jonah (Tim Key) begins throwing his dog in the air and catching him after witnessing a charismatic man (Matthew Perry) doing the same in a local park. His actions make him popular with the locals but after a photographer becomes interested in the performances the publics opinion becomes much more negative.[32]
2 "Nosferatu in Love" Peter Straughan Peter Straughan May 8, 2014 (2014-05-08)
While on location in the Czech Republic for a remake of the vampire classic , our tormented lead (Mark Strong)flees the set in full Dracula costume. Teaming up with petty crook Fonso , his revenge against his director and his wife will involve his best acting talents - and twelve thousand rats.[34]
3 "The Cruise" Stewart Sugg Stewart Sugg May 15, 2014 (2014-05-15)
Mobile Hairdresser Jacky is one week from her silver anniversary dream cruise. But is husband Andys hesitation just simple concern - or are darker forces at play? Starring Jane Horrocks & Jason Watkins[35]


Sky Arts announced two films for the Playhouse Presents strand in late 2013. Stuart Murphy, Director of Sky Entertainment, has said "We're so happy with these dramas. I hope they show we put a premium on creative endeavour at Sky and our philosophy of backing world class creative talent and pushing them to make their best work is the way to go." While Cameron Roach, Head of Drama, added, "We’ve all loved making these programmes and we hope that everyone who watches them feels like they’ve discovered something new, exciting and very special."


Nightshift follows two police officers as they patrol South East London during the night, discussing various subjects such as life and the universe. The film is written by Jimmy Gardner and the cast includes Daniel Mays, Ashley Walters and Scarlett Alice Johnson. Nightshift is produced by Cajun Pictures and World Productions.


Foxtrot is written and directed by Polly Stenham and stars Billie Piper, Ben Whishaw, Lindsay Duncan and Alice Sanders. It is a drama about an ill-fated girl gang heist. Foxtrot is produced by Adrian Bate, creative producer is Pip Broughton, and Gina Carter and Zoe Rocha will be executive producers.

The films are set to air late 2013, early 2014.[6]


  1. ^ "A new season of Playhouse Presents comes to Sky Arts". Sky Retrieved 25 April 2012. 
  2. ^ Series 2 Cast
  3. ^ Playhouse Presents: The Dog Thrower, Sky Arts 1, review: 'predictable and daft' - Telegraph
  4. ^ "Nixon's the One grows into five part series". Sky Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  5. ^ "A Young Doctor's Notebook & Other Stories returns for a second series". Retrieved 2013-10-01. 
  6. ^ a b "Brand New Playhouse Presents... Announced". Retrieved 2013-10-01. 
  7. ^ "Playhouse Presents...The Minor Character". Sky Retrieved 25 April 2012. 
  8. ^ "Playhouse Presents...Nellie and Melba". Sky Retrieved 25 April 2012. 
  9. ^ "Playhouse Presents...Nixon's The One". Sky Retrieved 25 April 2012. 
  10. ^ "Nixon's the One (2012)". Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  11. ^ "Playhouse Presents SERIES 1 - 3. PLAYHOUSE PRESENTS: NIXON'S THE ONE". Radio Times. Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  12. ^ "Playhouse Presents...King of the Teds". Sky Retrieved 25 April 2012. 
  13. ^ "Playhouse Presents...City Hall". Sky Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  14. ^ "Playhouse Presents...Care". Sky Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  15. ^ "Playhouse Presents...The Snipist". Sky Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  16. ^ "Playhouse Presents...Walking The Dogs". Sky Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  17. ^ "Playhouse Presents...The Man". Sky Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  18. ^ "Playhouse Presents... The Other Woman". Sky Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  19. ^ "Psychobitches added to Playhouse Presents line up". Sky Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  20. ^ "Playhouse Presents...Psychob*****s". Sky Retrieved 20 April 2013. 
  21. ^ "Playhouse Presents...Hey Diddly Dee". Retrieved 2013-05-24. 
  22. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "Second season of Playhouse Presents announced". Retrieved 2013-05-24. 
  23. ^ "Playhouse Presents...Snodgrass". Retrieved 2013-05-24. 
  24. ^ "Playhouse Presents...The Call Out". Retrieved 2013-05-24. 
  25. ^ "Playhouse Presents...Pavement Psychologist". Retrieved 2013-05-24. 
  26. ^ "Playhouse Presents...Mr Understood". Retrieved 2013-05-24. 
  27. ^ "Playhouse Present...Stage Door Johnnies". Retrieved 2013-05-24. 
  28. ^ a b c d e "Playhouse Presents...Psychobitches". Retrieved 2013-06-01. 
  29. ^ "Playhouse Presents...Cargese". Retrieved 2013-05-24. 
  30. ^ "Playhouse Presents...Ragged". Retrieved 2013-06-01. 
  31. ^ "Playhouse Presents...Gifted". Retrieved 2013-06-01. 
  32. ^ Dog Thrower "Playhouse Presents...The Dog Thrower". Retrieved 2014-07-19. 
  33. ^ The Dog Thrower trailer
  34. ^ in Love "Playhouse Presents...Nosferatu In Love". Retrieved 2014-07-19. 
  35. ^ Cruise "Playhouse Presents...The Cruise". Retrieved 2014-07-19. 

External links[edit]