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The forgotten female writers of Play for Today: ‘If you failed, it was pretty public’ | Television & radio

Established by the start of the 1980s as a writer for Coronation Street and the creator of the nursing series Angels, Paula Milne was pleased but fearful to be invited to write her first single play. A Sudden Wrench, in which a woman fights to be taken seriously in the male world of plumbing, went out in March 1982 as a Play for Today, a BBC One strand that could reach audiences of up to 12 million in its heyday, and averaged 5 million.

“There’s a line in the script,” Milne remembers, “where the husband says to his wife, when she goes to work on a construction site: ‘Just remember, there’s no allowance for failure out there.’ And that pretty well sums up how I felt about writing for Play for Today. If you failed in that slot, it was pretty damn public.”

Looking back through the archives, ahead

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