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The Wednesday Play: The Price of Coal - Parts 1 and 2 (1977)

Posted on May 27, 2015 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

We’re nearing the end of our brief Ken Loach season, but this week I’m going to use up two of the remaining plays in one go, as they’re a two-parter. 1977’s The Price of Coal was written by Loach’s Kes writing partner Barry Hines and is set in Yorkshire colliery community.

The first part, Meet The People, is a slightly comic affair, with management trying to enlist the miners in sprucing up the pithead in preparation for a visit by Prince Charles. A strangely comic affair for both Hines and Loach, it sees Loach abandon his documentary style of filming in favour of something a bit more Czech new wave that’s merely content to observe, although Loach did do his usual trick of casting some non-actors in key roles, drawing on some local stand-up comics when casting his humorous miners (Duggie Brown, Bobby Knutt, Stan Richards and Jackie Shinn).

The second part, set just a month later, reverts a bit more towards the Loach mean, with an underground explosion at the colliery killing several miners, the play then following the attempts to rescue others than remain trapped.


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