''ScreenPlay'' is a
television drama In film and television, drama is a category or genre of narrative fiction (or semi-fiction) intended to be more serious than humorous in tone. Drama of this kind is usually qualified with additional terms that specify its particular super- ...
anthology series An anthology series is a radio, television, video game or film series that spans different genres and presents a different story and a different set of characters in each different episode, season, segment, or short. These usually have a dif ...
broadcast on
BBC2 BBC Two is a British free-to-air public broadcast television network owned and operated by the BBC. It covers a wide range of subject matter, with a remit "to broadcast programmes of depth and substance" in contrast to the more mainstream ...
between 9 July 1986 and 27 October 1993.


After single-play anthology series went off the air, the BBC introduced several showcases for made-for-television, feature length filmed dramas, including ''ScreenPlay''. Various writers and directors were utilized on the series. Writer
Jimmy McGovern James Stanley McGovern (born September 1949) is an English screenwriter and producer. He is best known for creating the drama series '' Cracker'' (1993–1995), for which he received two Edgar Awards from the Mystery Writers of America. He a ...
was hired by producer George Faber to pen a series five episode based upon the
Merseyside Merseyside ( ) is a metropolitan and ceremonial county in North West England, with a population of 1.38 million. It encompasses both banks of the Mersey Estuary and comprises five metropolitan boroughs: Knowsley, St Helens, Sefton, Wi ...
needle exchange programme A needle and syringe programme (NSP), also known as needle exchange program (NEP), is a social service that allows injecting drug users (IDUs) to obtain clean and unused hypodermic needles and associated paraphernalia at little or no cost. ...
of the 1980s. The episode, directed by
Gillies MacKinnon Gillies MacKinnon (born 8 January 1948, Glasgow) is a Scottish film director, writer and painter. He attended the Glasgow School of Art where he studied mural painting. Following this he became an art teacher and cartoonist, and about this time ...
, was entitled ''Needle'' and featured Sean McKee, Emma Bird, and Pete Postlethwaite''.'' The last episode of the series was titled "Boswell and Johnson's Tour of the Western Islands" and featured
Robbie Coltrane Anthony Robert McMillan (30 March 195014 October 2022), known professionally as Robbie Coltrane, was a Scottish actor and comedian. He gained worldwide recognition in the 2000s for playing Rubeus Hagrid in the ''Harry Potter'' film series. H ...
as English writer
Samuel Johnson Samuel Johnson (18 September 1709  – 13 December 1784), often called Dr Johnson, was an English writer who made lasting contributions as a poet, playwright, essayist, moralist, critic, biographer, editor and lexicographer. The '' Oxfor ...
, who in the autumn of 1773, visits the
Hebrides The Hebrides (; gd, Innse Gall, ; non, Suðreyjar, "southern isles") are an archipelago off the west coast of the Scottish mainland. The islands fall into two main groups, based on their proximity to the mainland: the Inner and Outer Hebrid ...
off the north-west coast of Scotland. That episode was directed by John Byrne and co-starred John Sessions and Celia Imrie. Some scenes were shot at Lennoxlove House in
East Lothian East Lothian (; sco, East Lowden; gd, Lodainn an Ear) is one of the 32 council areas of Scotland, as well as a historic county, registration county and lieutenancy area. The county was called Haddingtonshire until 1921. In 1975, the hi ...
and others in the
Scottish Borders The Scottish Borders ( sco, the Mairches, 'the Marches'; gd, Crìochan na h-Alba) is one of 32 council areas of Scotland. It borders the City of Edinburgh, Dumfries and Galloway, East Lothian, Midlothian, South Lanarkshire, West Lothi ...
Filmed here – 1993, Boswell & Johnson's Tour of the Western Isles, John Byrne
Film Edinburgh, Retrieved 20 February 2015


Series 1 (1986)

Series 2 (1987)

Series 3 (1988)

Series 4 (1989)

Series 5 (1990)

Series 6 (1991)

Series 7 (1992)

Series 8 (1993)

Notable productions

* '' Cariani and the Courtesans'' (1987) * '' You, Me & Marley'' (1992)


External links

IMDb IMDb (an abbreviation of Internet Movie Database) is an online database of information related to films, television series, home videos, video games, and streaming content online – including cast, production crew and personal biographies, ...
' at
BBC Two BBC Two is a British free-to-air public broadcast television network owned and operated by the BBC. It covers a wide range of subject matter, with a remit "to broadcast programmes of depth and substance" in contrast to the more mainstream ...
Genome Project Genome projects are scientific endeavours that ultimately aim to determine the complete genome sequence of an organism (be it an animal, a plant, a fungus, a bacterium, an archaean, a protist or a virus) and to annotate protein-coding genes and o ...
{{DEFAULTSORT:ScreenPlay 1986 British television series debuts 1993 British television series endings 1980s British drama television series 1990s British drama television series 1980s British anthology television series 1990s British anthology television series Samuel Johnson British drama television series BBC television dramas Films shot in the Scottish Borders Films shot in East Lothian English-language television shows