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Brian Rix

This tag is associated with 3 posts

Brian Rix presents: Wolf’s Clothing (BBC, 1961)

I am writing a series of blogs about the remarkable series of comedy outside broadcasts made by the BBC with Brian Rix at the Whitehall Theatre between 1952 and 1969. Previous posts have considered Reluctant Heroes (BBC, 1952) and Postman’s Knock (BBC, 1952), and today I want to respond to the recording of Wolf’s Clothing, which was shown on 21 May 1961. This was the twenty-fifth live broadcast from the Whitehall, but it appears to be the first one to survive in the archives — and from the seventy or so transmissions, I can at present identify only this recording and two others. Continue reading

Brian Rix presents: Postman’s Knock (BBC, 1952)

My first ‘Brian Rix presents’ blog explored the production context for the BBC’s broadcast from the Whitehall Theatre of the first act of Reluctant Heroes on 14 May 1952. This was immensely popular with viewers, and later in the year the BBC followed up the broadcast with another farce from the Whitehall, Philip King’s Postman’s Knock, this time given as an abridged form of the full play. But it was then to be almost three years before another Whitehall farce began the showings that were central to the BBC schedule for the next decade and more. This post considers how Postman’s Knock came about – and why, despite a success comparable to Reluctant Heroes, it did not immediately lead to a series of broadcasts. Continue reading

Brian Rix presents: Reluctant Heroes (BBC, 1952)

Between 1955 and the late 1960s BBC Television broadcast some seventy live comedies from the Whitehall Theatre in London. Presented by the actor-manager Brian Rix, these transmissions – often shown at Christmas or on other bank holidays – were strikingly popular fixtures in the schedules. They were rarely discussed by journalists at the time and have been ignored by writers on television ever since. Recordings of only a handful survive, but there is extensive documentation of almost all of them in the BBC Written Archive Centre. They are the most sustained and successful partnership between a theatre company and a broadcaster, and in a series of posts over the coming weeks I intend to explore their production context, the responses of both critics and audiences at the time, and how we might assess their significance today. This first post details what might be regarded as a prologue to the main series – the broadcast on 14 May 1952 of just the first act of Colin Morris’ hit comedy Reluctant Heroes. Continue reading