Spend, Spend, Spend (play)

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Spend, Spend, Spend
Written by Jack Rosenthal
Directed by John Goldschmidt
Starring Susan Littler
John Duttine
Country of origin UK
Producer(s) Graeme McDonald
Cinematography Phil Méheux
Running time 86 minutes
Production company(s) BBC
Original network BBC1
Picture format 16 mm[1]
Original release 15 March 1977 (UK)

Spend, Spend, Spend is an episode of the BBC's Play for Today anthology series first transmitted 15 March 1977[2] on BBC1, recounting the life of football pools winner Viv Nicholson.

Written by Jack Rosenthal it is based on the book of the same name by Nicholson and Stephen Smith and recounts Nicholson's life story from the 1950s to the early 1970s in a non-linear fashion.

Rosenthal was a colleague of the PR man who, on behalf of Littlewoods Pools, persuaded Nicholson to allow publicity for her pools win. He wrote in his autobiography: "From that day on, I followed her wild, seemingly stupid adventures in the papers - and believed every snide, snooty, biased word the relentless publicity said. All adding up to one word - that she was a cow."[3] Being given Nicholson's book by director John Goldschmidt caused Rosenthal to reassess his attitude and "become a fan"[3] eager to put across an explanation of her behaviour.

The production won the British Academy Best Play Award and Royal Television Society's Writer's Award 1977.[4] A shortened version - running to 76 minutes - was screened by BBC Four in 2003. The work was released on DVD by Acorn media in 2011, alongside other works by Rosenthal broadcast by the BBC.


  1. ^ Phil Méheux, Internet Encyclopedia of Cinemartographers
  2. ^ Michael Brooke "Spend Spend Spend (1977)", BFI screenonline page
  3. ^ a b Jack Rosenthal By Jack Rosenthal: An Autobiography in Six Acts, London: Robson, 2006, p.228
  4. ^ "TV Greats - Jack Rosenthal 1931-2004", Television Heaven website

External links[edit]