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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 March 2006, 11:21 GMT
BBC to revive Play for Today slot
Alison Steadman in Abigail's Party
Abigail's Party by Mike Leigh was a huge success in 1977
The Play for Today strand that helped launch the careers of Mike Leigh, Ken Loach and Dennis Potter is to return next year, the BBC has confirmed.

The tentatively titled Evening Play will have a primetime slot on BBC One and will feature work by new writers.

A spokeswoman for the corporation said it was "very early days" and that no scripts had so far been commissioned.

The success of BBC One's Afternoon Play had been a factor in the decision to revive the slot, she continued.

The single drama was a BBC staple from 1964 to 1984 but has been a rarity in recent years.

Michael Kitchen in Brimstone and Treacle
Brimstone and Treacle was not shown on BBC One until 1987
In its heyday, however, the Play for Today produced such TV landmarks as Mike Leigh's Abigail's Party, Ken Loach's Cathy Come Home and Dennis Potter's Blue Remembered Hills.

Other writers who contributed plays to the series include John Osborne, Jack Rosenthal and Stephen Poliakoff.

Some instalments, such as John Mortimer's Rumpole of the Bailey and Alan Bleasdale's The Black Stuff, went on to spawn their own series.

In the late 1970s, two plays - Potter's Brimstone and Treacle and Scum by Roy Minton - were pulled from transmission due to concerns over their content.

"We're really keen to see it as a slot new writers can work into," said the BBC's spokeswoman.

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