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Alec Clunes

This tag is associated with 2 posts

‘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

Exercise Bowler by T. Atkinson (BBC, 1946)

Both my colleague Amanda Wrigley and I are deep in the stage of Screen Plays research that involves the repetitive entry of credits into our developing database. I have been working on plays transmitted just after the Second World War, in the months following the re-start of the BBC Television service in early June 1946. Inevitably, there is a host of productions of which I wish copies existed (there are no full-length recordings until 1953). One of the most intriguing is a drama called Exercise Bowler which was broadcast on 5 August in a television version produced by Jan Bussell. From the traces that survive in Radio Times and elsewhere in the press, it seems to have been interesting as a response to Britain re-adjusting to peacetime and also strikingly experimental in its use of the television studio. Continue reading

Emitron camera at Alexandra Palace