1 9 8 5 – 1 9 9 8 (UK)
165 x episodes
Following the demise of the BBC’s Play for Today in 1984, producer Kenith Trodd was asked to formulate a new series of one-off television dramas shot entirely on film in an attempt by the BBC to repeat the success of Channel 4’s television films, many of which had been released in cinemas as motion pictures in their own right.
The first film broadcast under the Screen Two umbrella was Contact, a 67-minute drama about a platoon of British paratroopers on patrol in Northern Ireland.
Standout films over the 13 years of transmission included Coast to Coast starring Lenny Henry; Visitors by Dennis Potter; The Firm with Gary Oldman; The Object of Beauty starring Andie MacDowell and John Malkovich; Truly Madly Deeply which was released in cinemas and The Absence of War starring John Thaw.
The last programme shown under the Screen Two name was Stephen Poliakoff’s The Tribe in June 1998.
From 1989 to 1998, a companion series called Screen One was broadcast on the more mainstream BBC1. After airing more sporadically in the mid-1990s, Screen Two came to an end as the BBC moved its attention away from single dramas and concentrated production on series and serials instead.