Hitting Town (1976)
Written by Stephen Poliakoff and Directed by Peter Gill
Hitting Town was Poliakoff’s first ever work shown on television. It was a screen version of his stage play, which won him the Evening Standard Most Promising Playwright Award. The play charts one explosive night between a brother and sister as Ralph arrives at his sister’s flat in a febrile mood having just witnessed from afar the Birmingham bombings. His sister is also in an emotional state having just been left by her boyfriend. Together they set out for a night on the town and end up in bed together.
The play, though not salacious in the slightest, caused an enormous stir in 1976. Mary Whitehouse tried to have the Independent Broadcasting Authority (the regulatory body of the day) prosecuted for screening the show. The matter was referred to the Attorney General and questions were asked in the Houses of Parliament.
Hitting Town was half shot on location on single-camera video and the other half in the studio using multiple cameras. It was directed by the esteemed theatre director Peter Gill and stars Mick Ford and Deborah Norton with Lynne Miller repeating her stage performance as the rebellious waitress Nicola. The landscapes in the play are a powerful reminder of what the 1970s really looked like and are a vivid illustration of the urban world that had made Poliakoff’s reputation in the theatre.
It is available on DVD as part of the ITV’s Plays For Britain Network DVD.