Abigail's Party. Image shows from L to R: Laurence (Tim Stern), Beverly (Alison Steadman). Copyright: BBC.

Abigail's Party

BBC One comedy drama about middle-class manners. 1 episode in 1977. Stars Alison Steadman, Tim Stern, Janine Duvitski, John Salthouse and Harriet Reynolds.

Press Clippings

Archive: Nancy Banks-Smith reviews Abigail's Party, '77

Any party on TV is the signal for insult, indigestion and vomiting off.

Nancy Banks-Smith, The Guardian, 2nd November 2017

Mike Leigh on Abigail's Party at 40

In 1977, over an epic Chinese meal, Mike Leigh was persuaded to return to theatre. It was supposed to be a quick, forgettable job but became a hot ticket and triumphed on TV. He looks back at a play born from frustration with suburbia.

Mike Leigh, The Guardian, 24th February 2017

Abigail's Party is routinely found in the upper reaches of those "best ever TV drama" lists and quite right, too. Mike Leigh's suburban satire, little more than a filmed stage play when it was first broadcast as a Play for Today in 1977, is painfully brilliant. And it belongs entirely to Alison Steadman as Bev. Ah Bev, castrating monster and Demis Roussos devotee who, during the course of one memorable night, sails through a terrible drinks party like a Dreadnought with a hostess trolley. It is one of the great television performances. Bev is both grotesque and hilarious, with her nasal drone and towering lack of sensitivity ("Ange, can you take a little bit of criticism?"). Steadman earlier discusses Bev, and other characters from her remarkable career, with Mark Lawson. She's nice, modest and a complete professional.

Alison Graham, Radio Times, 7th November 2010