Play for Today: The Largest Theatre in the World: The Rainbirds (1971)

UK, 11 February 1971
videotape, colour, 4:3
mono, English
Series: Play for Today (1970-1984) – series 1, episode 15

A British fantasy television episode written by Clive Exton and directed by Philip Saville.

Plot Summary

John Rainbird tries to kill himself by jumping from a hotel window and as doctors struggle to save his life, he drifts into a series of strange flashbacks where he confronts monstrous versions of his domineering parents.


Directed by: Philip Saville
Produced by: Irene Shubik
Written by: Clive Exton

Madge Ryan (Mrs Rainbird)
James Cossins (Mr Rainbird)
Alan Webb (grandfather)
Peter Jeffrey (doctor)
Andrew Grant (John Rainbird)
Paddy Joyce (hotel porter)
Wendy Hamilton, Claire Davenport, Billie Laine (nurses)
Paul Hardwick (recruiting sergeant)
Anthony Ainley (surgeon)
David Markham (padre)
Jerry Ram, Richard Kerley (young doctors)
Amber Blair (club hostess)
Andrea Southern (stripper)



  • Play for Today: The Evolution of Television Drama by Irene Shubik pp.168-169 – note in chapter Experiments in Form: The Innovators