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‘An outside broadcast from the last century’: the <i>Gaslight Theatre</i> melodramas (BBC, 1965)

‘An outside broadcast from the last century’: the Gaslight Theatre melodramas (BBC, 1965)

At 7.50pm on 31 July 1965, the Saturday-evening audience for BBC2 was treated to an hour of melodrama . . . melodrama, that is, as it had been played on the 19th-century stage. The production offered that evening, titled Maria Marten; or, The Murder in the Old Red Barn, was the first in a curious series of six melodramas, all with a theatrical pedigree, transmitted in a prime-time weekly viewing slot under the banner Gaslight Theatre. The series was the brainchild of the actor and theatre manager, Alec Clunes, and the television producer Bryan Sears, who were supported by a special ‘resident company’ of actors who took part across many of the productions – indeed, Ronnie Barker not only starred in all of the plays but also had a hand in cutting the scripts down to an appropriate size for the hour-long slot. Continue reading

Screen Plays

Welcome to the blog of the AHRC-funded research project Screen Plays: Theatre Plays on British Television. The project is based at the Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media (CREAM) in the School of Media, Arts and Design at the University of Westminster and runs from June 2011 to February 2015.

The project is concerned with all plays written for the theatre produced for British television since 1930. We will publish a database of these productions, a book and journal articles, and we will organise screenings, conferences and other events.

News of our activities will feature here, with reviews, research discoveries, drafts of our ideas and much more. We very much hope that you will contribute to the discussions.

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