The Wednesday Play (1964–1970)
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Vote, Vote, Vote for Nigel Barton 

Candidate Nigel Barton goes from idealism to cynicism as he becomes disillusioned and suspicious of hollow campaign promises.


Gareth Davies


Dennis Potter


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Keith Barron ... Nigel Barton
Valerie Gearon ... Anne Barton
John Bailey ... Jack Hay
Cyril Luckham ... Hugh Archibald-Lake
Barbara Atkinson Barbara Atkinson ... 1st Hunting Woman
Agatha Carroll Agatha Carroll ... 2nd Hunting Woman
Donald Hewlett ... 1st Hunting Man
Russell Forehead Russell Forehead ... Sir Harry Blakerswood
Huw Thomas Huw Thomas ... Newsreader
Betty Bowden Betty Bowden ... Lady Chairman
Margaret Diamond Margaret Diamond ... Lady Secretary
Madge Brindley ... Mrs. Thompson
Michael Segal ... 1st Questioner
Raymond Witch Raymond Witch ... 2nd Questioner
Charles Rea Charles Rea ... Pedestrian


Seven million people watched "Stand Up, Nigel Barton," and this audience increased to 8.75 million viewers when "Vote, Vote, Vote for Nigel Barton" was shown the following week (December 15, 1965). Dennis Potter ran in the 1964 General Election as a Labour Party candidate, and this experience was the springboard for the play. The political idealism of Oxford graduate Nigel Barton sets him campaigning as a Labour candidate, but he becomes disillusioned and disenchanted by empty political rhetoric, prompting him to speak his true thoughts. Potter added a sardonic sidebar by having politico Jack Hay speak a counterpoint commentary directly into the camera. The two plays were written in a reverse order from the sequence as aired. Commissioned by the BBC in the summer of 1964, "Vote, Vote, Vote for Nigel Barton," went before the cameras in April 1965 and was scheduled for June transmission. However, the play's political implications prompted the BBC to withdraw it on the scheduled air date... Written by Bhob Stewart <>

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Release Date:

15 December 1965 (UK) See more »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


By pure coincidence, a party political broadcast by the Conservative party was scheduled to be broadcast immediately before this play in December 1965. Dennis Potter tried to persuade the BBC to remove the opening credits from the play so it appeared to be a continuation of the party political broadcast. Not surprisingly, the BBC refused to allow this blatant blurring between fact and fiction. See more »


Featured in What Lies Beneath (2008) See more »

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User Reviews

Cynical but sadly true
21 January 2007 | by darren shanSee all my reviews

This sequel to STAND UP, NIGEL BARTON (which aired just a week after Potter had introduced us to his angry young man) is set several years later. Nigel is married and running for parliament as a Labour candidate in a by-election, spurred on by his unscrupulous, cynical agent. As he takes to the electoral circuit, he begins to weary of the lies he must spout and the fake smile he must always wear. He wants to speak from the heart and make a difference, but that seems an impossibility. And when he does finally find the strength to express himself frankly and truthfully, it doesn't have quite the impact that it might have had in a Frank Capra flick!!! This angry political shot isn't as structurally intriguing as its predecessor, but for what it sets out to achieve, it's the stronger of the two. It's dated, yes, but its central messages ring true even forty years later, and you find yourself rooting for Nigel, feeling his sense of frustration, wishing he could change the world, but knowing he (like the rest of us) probably won't. It's excellently acted, exceedingly bitter, very funny in places -- and surprisingly moving in others. This makes a splendid double feature when seen with the first play. Potter fans should snap it up immediately, and others should give it a chance too -- while it's nowhere near as revolutionary as his greatest TV work, it's more immediately accessible than much of it.

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