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State of Play 

A thriller set in London, in which a politician's life becomes increasingly complex as his research assistant is found dead on the London Underground and, in a seemingly unrelated incident, a teenage pickpocket is shot dead.
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2003  
Top Rated TV #207 | 16 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Series cast summary:
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 Helen Preger 6 episodes, 2003
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 Anne Collins 6 episodes, 2003
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 Dominic Foy 5 episodes, 2003
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 Andrew Wilson 5 episodes, 2003
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 Sonny Stagg 5 episodes, 2003
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Maureen Hibbert ...
 Olicia Stagg 4 episodes, 2003
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 George Fergus 4 episodes, 2003
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 Greer Thornton 4 episodes, 2003
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 Adam Greene 4 episodes, 2003
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 Sergeant 'Chewy' Cheweski / ... 3 episodes, 2003
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 Sonia Baker 3 episodes, 2003
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 Karen Collins 3 episodes, 2003
Charlie Ryan ...
 Louis Collins 3 episodes, 2003
Stuart Goodwin ...
 Robert Bingham 3 episodes, 2003
Patrick Brennan ...
 Neil Woods 3 episodes, 2003
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 Professor Tate 2 episodes, 2003
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 Young Guy / ... 2 episodes, 2003
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 Sheena Gough 2 episodes, 2003
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 Yvonne Shaps 2 episodes, 2003
Carla Du Bois ...
 Hotel Receptionist 2 episodes, 2003
Elizabeth Elvin ...
 Apex House Receptionist 2 episodes, 2003
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 Joy Cipriani 2 episodes, 2003
Anne Karam
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Storyline

A thriller set in London, in which a politician's life becomes increasingly complex as his research assistant is found dead on the London Underground and, in a seemingly unrelated incident, a teenage pickpocket is shot dead.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Sometimes you have to read between the lines


Certificate:

TV-14 | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

18 May 2003 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Den tredje makten  »

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(6 episodes)

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The set of the House of Commons chamber is the same one that was a part of Granada Studios Tour. It was purchased personally by the scriptwriter Paul Abbott so it could be used in the drama; otherwise it would have been destroyed when the Tour closed, and he feared it would take too long to get the necessary money from the BBC. It is currently kept in storage in Oxford. See more »

Connections

Remade as State of Play (2009) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Superb
26 June 2003 | by See all my reviews

The BBC haven't made a mini series as good since 'Edge of Darkness' in 1985. Although 'State of Play' doesn't quite match that seminal classic it is still superb. It is an oasis in a very large desert of quality programming from the once mighty BBC. Apart from the 2001 co-production 'Conspiracy' the BBC drama output is a poor shadow of what it used to be in the sixties and seventies.

The six episodes of 'State of Play' need close attention but once the plot gets going it is a roller coaster ride to the last few minutes of the last episode. The journalists, the politicians and the police prowl around each other as the conspiracy is unravelled. It is not just a driving narrative however, there are real people with real emotions caught up in the action. The six episodes allow several characters to become rounded and interesting. High praise indeed for Paul Abbott, the writer. It gripped from start to finish.

The acting is excellent. David Morrissey and John Simm as Stephen Collins and Cal McCaffrey play brilliantly off against each other as truths are eventually discovered. The last scene between them is corker. The journalists are the heroes but they are also flawed and troubled. All the actors playing the journos were great but I thought Kelly Macdonald as Della Smith was exceptional. Bill Nighy had some hilarious lines which he gave full justice to. Forget Hollywood star names, these are proper actors.

Apart from the human characters the other character that is well portrayed is London itself. London has many faces and the series brought several of those out. From nights by the Thames , to the bleak housing estates, to the pretty suburban streets, to the formality of Parliament, to the sounds and almost the smells of eight million people jostling together. All photographed atmospherically. As a Londoner it made me look at my city again.

I'll run out of superlatives soon, so I'll just say it is a great achievement by all the artists concerned. Apparently another series is being considered and hopefully that will be just as good.


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