Dennis Potter's 1976 contribution to the BBC's 'Play for Today' series was famously banned for eleven years. A young Michael Kitchen plays the part of a demon seeking sport in the streets of London. He inveigles himself, by trickery and manipulation, into the home of Denholm Elliot, the father of a badly disabled girl. Kitchen's obsequious interloper in places echoes Tim Curry's role in the "Rocky Horror Show", without resorting to anything camp or over-stylised.
Potter describes the play as a parable. Evil can be unctuous - it is not obviously evil, but can seem to be kindness and generosity, can seem logical, an worm its way into the hearts and minds of people. Religion, he feels, has been reduced to a sanctimonious function - too many people use religion to justify actions and beliefs which are truly evil. And this is Potter in the 1970's! Little has changed.
The play is a dissection of white, middle class values - of the whitened sepulchre image of suburbia. But the banning of the play was not because of its cynical take on religion or its gentle chiding of the middle classes. Rather, the play involves the rape of a disabled woman by the demon - it's implied rather than seen, there's nothing graphic or salacious.
The DVD offers some interesting extras: when the play was eventually shown some eleven years later, a discussion programme was aired on the subject of its banning - you get to see this, with contributions from Potter. Interestingly, by the time it was shown a film of the play (starring Sting) had already been made and released. An absorbing production, a reminder that television drama used to be risky and low budget, not slick and hyped up. Well worth watching.