The Wednesday Play: Diane (1975)

A harrowing Play For Today

As you’ve probably noticed from previous weeks’ entries in this strand, such as Scum, Contact and Penda’s Fen, director Alan Clarke was responsible for many of British TV’s finest – and toughest – plays. BBC2 Playhouse‘s Diane, starring the then 20-year-old Janine Duvitski (Waiting For God, Abigail’s Party) whom Clarke more or less plucked straight out of drama school to play the 13-year-old protagonist, is one of Clarke’s toughest, dealing with incest on a council estate. 

Written by ‘David Agnew’ (actually Clarke using a BBC pseudonym after re-rewriting Anthony Read’s initial script), it’s harrowing, subtle but still humane, and still packs a punch.