playing-away-feb-11thWhen a cricket team in rural Suffolk invites a team from Brixton to a charity cricket match during the village’s Third World Week, everyone finds themselves re-examining long held attitudes and prejudices. “Ové subtly explores and undermines stereotypes and succeeds in linking two familiar but strange cultures through the simple device of a sports game“ (British Film Institute). This comedy of manners includes Norman Beaton, Ross Kemp and Neil Morrissey in the cast. (Cert 15)
Dir: Horace Ové 100 mins UK 1987
Preceded by The Olympic Games, London, 1908 4 mins

Programme Notes

Playing Away
UK/USA 1987 100mins Cert 15

When a West Indian cricket team from Brixton is invited to participate in a ‘Third World Week’ charity match at a small Suffolk village, members of both teams have their reservations. A weekend in the country away from the inner city produces unexpected results both on and off the field of play. Playing Away subtly explores and undermines white and black stereotypes and succeeds in linking two familiar but strange cultures through the simple device of a cricket match. Humour is elicited from the cultural misunderstandings on both sides, each learning a little about the other in the process.

This comedy of manners from pioneering Trinidad-born film-maker Horace Ove (Pressure, 1975) features an outstanding array of British talent, including Ross Kemp and Neil Morrissey at the start of their careers, and a poignant performance by the brilliant Norman Beaton.

“The gentle comedy of manners and unexpected reversal of white and black stereotypes in Playing Away contrasts sharply with the stylistic experimentation and militant denunciations of racial prejudice in Ove’s 1975 feature Pressure” Onyekachi Wambu, Screenonline BFI

“Witty and wise without being seriously disturbing for a minute” Vincent Canby, New York Times

Willy Boy – Norman Beaton
Ian – Neil Morissey
Sunny – Ross Kemp
Stuart – Brian Bovell
Godfrey – Robert Urquart

Director – Horace Ove
Producer – Vijay Amarnani
Screenplay – Caryl Phillips
Cinematography – Nic Knowland
Original Music – Simon Webb

To be shown with
Olympic Games
Pathe’s remarkable, historic depiction of the London Olympics, featuring King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra (credited as the film’s only cast!) Ref. IMDb, Moving Picture World,1908
France 1908 4mins




“Very worthwhile fragments”

“Fair for surviving footage”

PLAYING AWAY (feature)

“An evening of interesting relics. Olympic Games gave us a brief insight into the event, whilst Playing Away, despite its dated orchestration, was a warm crowd-pleaser with a solid ensemble cast.”

“Did they not know, you don’t exhale a joint – but they could play a good game of cricket.”

“Norman Beaton was brilliant. Some wonderful ‘Camberwell Carrots’ in evidence!”

“Great film – but subtitles might have helped!”

“I really liked this but (the match) could have equally well been between two white teams.
The dialogue was good, even if the sound was a bit off.”

“No curate hereabouts – but his egg was present!”

“Pretty much as expected – could have tried harder.”

“Apart from needing a lecture on the rules of cricket, the film was very good.”

“Not a film that has dated well. I suppose it must be viewed in the context of the time but the racism, sexism and the stereotypes make us cringe now.”

“A deeply sad film (but) the characters a bit stereotypical. Unsolved problems at the end.”

“I wanted the Brixton team to win!”

“Improbable from start to finish – wotno breathalyser? Many good laughs, however.”


A:13, B:6, C:13, D:4, E:0 to give 69%