Playhouse: The Combination (1982)



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Credited cast:
John Bird John Bird ... Dr. Hughes-Jones
Duggie Brown Duggie Brown ... Uncle William
Reg Creswell Reg Creswell ... Policeman
Dudley Davies Dudley Davies ... Billy Evans's Gang
Richard Davies Richard Davies ... Mr Edwards
Julian Davis Julian Davis ... Johnno
Graham Drury Graham Drury ... Henry Hughes-Jones
Simon Gray Simon Gray ... Billy Evans's Gang
Noel Johnson Noel Johnson ... Magistrate
Peter Lee Peter Lee ... Billy Evans's Gang
Henry Milner Henry Milner ... Matthew - Bedford
Antonia Pemberton Antonia Pemberton ... Mrs. Hughes-Jones
Tim Preece Tim Preece
Gary Raymond ... Father - Mr Bedford
Phillada Sewell Phillada Sewell ... Miss Towsy (as Phillida Sewell)


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Release Date:

9 January 1982 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


When the boys are brought before a Magistrate for stealing some pop he castigates them with the following words: "It is a sad state of affairs when the ordinary citizen hardly dare venture onto the streets for being banged on the head by gangs of Cosh Boys with flick knives and bicycle chains. Is there a reason for it? In my humble opinion we are literally - each and every one of us - going to the Devil. And if I had to point the finger at any single responsible body it would be the BBC for paving the way by churning out 'Dick Barton' every single night of the week. If anything was guaranteed to warp the spirit of the young it's that perverted rubbish. The facts are quite simple: when did the country first start going to the dogs? 1946. What was the date of the first broadcast of 'Dick Barton'? 1946. The Devil is on the hoof." The Magistrate is played by Noel Johnson - who played Dick Barton in the popular radio series and to which the boys listen avidly every night. See more »

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User Reviews

Perfectly and sensitively captured both the era and how life was for boys aged 11.
1 November 2016 | by timgdbullSee all my reviews

In my opinion this Playhouse film was a classic that deserves to be seen again, I'm sure it would receive critical acclaim. It resonated with the imagination, excitement, concerns, mores and prejudices of my own childhood which was 8 years behind that of Matty and Johhno. Interestingly it fascinated my daughter who was 12 when we watched it together on its first showing, and on recording it several more times until we could quote parts by heart!

The innocence of that crucial summer holiday between junior and secondary school is perfectly captured, as is the struggle of knowing something is puzzling and not right with your parents relationship. Matty's Mum is wonderfully played by Dorothy Tutin, and John Bird is perfect as Dr Hughes -Jones, and how GP's of the time found the mental health problems of depression so uncomfortable.

The setting of Church Stretton and the Shropshire Hills bordering Wales is a perfect setting for the unhurried yet somehow uncertain years of rural life in the fifties. The ending with two best friends from different class backgrounds forced to go in different directions due to one passing the 11plus exam and one left for 'factory fodder' is poignant indeed.

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