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BBC television’s first drama: <i>Murder in the Cathedral</i> (1936)

BBC television’s first drama: Murder in the Cathedral (1936)

I have been pleased to discover recently that we can add a new “first” to the early productions of theatre plays for television. According to a short report in the Manchester Guardian the BBC television service mounted scenes from T. S. Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral on 19 October 1936. A test broadcast some three weeks before official transmissions began, this production should, I think, be recognised as BBC television’s first identifiable drama. Not only that, it was apparently also the first studio broadcast in which scenery was used. Continue reading

Screen Plays

Welcome to the Screen Plays: Theatre Plays on British Television website!

Screen Plays is concerned with all plays written for the theatre that have been produced for British television since 1930. It documents, explores and contextualizes the history of more than 3,000 television productions, encompassing both studio-based work and collaborations with theatre companies.

It is now possible to search the data behind this research via the Screen Plays database, hosted by the BUFVC.

This website offers five major thematic 'ways in' to this rich and fascinating aspect of British cultural history: Greek drama; Shakespeare; Jacobean tragedy; Edwardian drama; and American plays. The website also offers a wealth of information on the work of other drama and related miscellaneous topics.

These resources have been prepared by John Wyver and Amanda Wrigley of the University of Westminster. The Arts & Humanities Research Council funded their research on this topic from 2011 to 2015. Read more about this project, its personnel, its activities and publications here.


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