The Playbirds

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The Playbirds
The Playbirds FilmPoster.jpeg
Directed byWilly Roe
Produced byDavid Sullivan
Written byWilly Roe
StarringMary Millington
Alan Lake
Glynn Edwards
Suzy Mandel
Kenny Lynch
Music byDavid Whitaker
Distributed byTigon
Release date
  • 6 July 1978 (1978-07-06)
Running time
94 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

The Playbirds is a 1978 British sexploitation film, made by Irish-born director Willy Roe and starring 1970s pin-up Mary Millington alongside Glynn Edwards, Suzy Mandel and Windsor Davies.


When a series of female centrefolds from the glamour magazine Playbirds are murdered by an obsessive fanatic, police officers from Scotland Yard are called in to investigate the lurid world of pornography. To narrow the field of suspects, undercover policewoman Lucy Sheridan (Mary Millington) infiltrates the publication as its next centrefold.



Filmed over four weeks in the winter of 1977, The Playbirds was the official follow-up to Come Play with Me, which also starred Mary Millington. In The Playbirds, Millington plays an undercover policewoman investigating the murders of models from David Sullivan's magazine Playbirds. The title sequence shows Millington walking through Soho when it was at the height of its domination by the sex industry, giving a visual record of the district's history.[1] Millington collaborated with director Willy Roe on two further sexploitation pictures, Confessions from the David Galaxy Affair and Queen of the Blues, both released theatrically in the summer of 1979.

Release and reception[edit]

The film ran in London for 34 consecutive weeks and took £177,000.[2]

In a contemporary review for The Monthly Film Bulletin, Clyde Jeavons summed up the film as "standard British sex fare thinly disguised as a police-thriller of the old Scotland Yard variety". On the performances of the cast, he commented that Millington "speaks her lines as methodically as she strips, while one or two good actors like Glynn Edwards stand around looking suitably shamefaced."[3] Films Illustrated said that despite the film's sexual content it resembled "an old-time British second feature transplanted to the '70s".[4]

Special-edition DVD[edit]

The Playbirds was released on DVD in the United Kingdom on 9 August 2010 by Odeon Entertainment. The film has been digitally remastered and the disc features an extensive stills gallery, production notes written by historian Simon Sheridan, plus Mary Millington's World Striptease Extravaganza (1981) and Response, a short lesbian film starring Mary Millington, made in 1974.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hunt, Leon (2013). British Low Culture: From Safari Suits to Sexploitation. Routledge. p. 25. ISBN 9781136189364.
  2. ^ Babington, Bruce (2001). British Stars and Stardom: From Alma Taylor to Sean Connery. Manchester University Press. p. 210. ISBN 9780719058417.
  3. ^ Jeavons, Clyde (July 1978). "Playbirds, The". The Monthly Film Bulletin. Vol. 45 no. 534. London, UK: British Film Institute. p. 140. ISSN 0027-0407. OCLC 2594020.
  4. ^ Castell, David, ed. (July 1978). "Background: The Playbirds". Films Illustrated. Vol. 7 no. 83. London, UK: Independent Magazines. p. 409.
  5. ^ Simon Sheridan. "DVDs & Blu-rays". Mary Millington.


  • Keeping the British End Up: Four Decades of Saucy Cinema by Simon Sheridan (fourth edition) (Titan Publishing, London) (2011)

External links[edit]