This tag is associated with 11 posts

Greek plays: Medea (A-R for ITV Schools, 1963)

In 1963 Associated-Rediffusion produced an unabridged version of Euripides’ Medea, the story of a woman who takes revenge on her husband by murdering their children, which ITV Schools transmitted over three programmes as part of an eleven-part series entitled Theatres and Temples: The Greeks. The series included re-transmissions of earlier productions of severely abridged Greek tragedies but Medea seems to have had a particularly high status in the series and amongst ITV Schools productions of theatre plays more generally, being sold to New Zealand and CBS in America, and being one of eleven exemplary television programmes which Associated-Rediffusion selected as marking it out as a serious cultural rival of the BBC. Continue reading

End of part one

Were it not for unforeseen circumstances, today would have marked the halfway point of the Screen Plays research project. We are at the end of the eighteenth month of what was originally a three-year project. But thrillingly my colleague on the project Dr Amanda Wrigley is pregnant with twins, who are due in the middle of February, and so the project will be extended into early 2015. To mark this moment, I thought it might be interesting to detail which of the 150 previous posts have proved to be the most popular with readers. Continue reading

In Rehearsal: The Bacchae (BBC, 1969)

Today’s blog post is something of an aside: the television programme I’m considering doesn’t fall within the methodological net of Screen Plays owing to the fact that it is focuses only on a couple of scenes from a play. The half-hour programme in question, which considers scenes from Euripides’ Bacchae was the second in the In Rehearsal series, a creation of the BBC Further Education department for transmission on BBC 1 on Sunday mornings in 1969. It’s interesting as an example of the BBC’s Further Education programmes of the late 1960s and early 1970s, enabling me to extend my knowledge about the BBC’s educational programming, and also because, as a Greek play, it’s also of some relevance to my Greece on the Small Screen project. Certainly, then, it seems to be worth a footnote on the blog.

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Classics on TV: BFI Southbank programme, 26 June 2012

Tonight sees the fifth – and final – programme in the five-night Screen Plays season Classics on TV: Greek Tragedy on the Small Screen at BFI Southbank. This evening we will see Iphigenia at Aulis, Don Taylor’s production of Euripides’ play for BBC Television in 1990. This happens to be the last full production of … Continue reading

Classics on TV: BFI Southbank programme, 13 June 2012

Tonight sees the second programme in the five-night Screen Plays season Classics on TV: Greek Tragedy on the Small Screen at BFI Southbank. A few tickets are still available for the 6.15pm showing which features Electra (Associated-Rediffusion for ITV, 1962) and Women of Troy (BBC, 1958), followed by a panel discussion with actor and director Fiona Shaw and classical scholar Oliver Taplin of the University of Oxford. You can book via the BFI website. Following the first screening on 7 June we tried an experiment, inviting anyone who was at the screening to contribute their thoughts about the programme on this blog. That experiment was really successful, and so we will continue it for further screenings. Any and all responses would be welcome, however brief – and John Wyver and I will also be offering some further thoughts. Continue reading

The Angry Gods, comprising Iphigenia at Aulis, Oresteia and The Winter’s Tale (A-R for ITV Schools, 1961)

I’ve been slowly working up my second case study for Screen Plays which concerns stage plays produced on television in educational contexts. Recently I’ve been continuing my research into The Open University’s A307 Drama distance-learning course which was transmitted on television each year for five years from 1977: there were sixteen productions in all; I’ve … Continue reading

Greek plays: Iphigenia at Aulis (BBC, 1990)

Following on from my recent posts on Don Taylor’s 1986 The Theban Plays trilogy for the BBC, I turn my focus to his very last work for television in 1990, which was another Greek tragedy – Euripides’ Iphigenia at Aulis – and which, as it happens, appears to be the last full production of Greek drama on British television. In this post I draw on Taylor’s aim to achieve what we may call ‘mass media theatre’, through techniques such as multi-camera continuous shooting, to analyse the intentions that lay behind his productions and to ascertain whether he was successful within the parameters he set himself. I would also like to offer some thoughts about the ways in which this production made good use of televisual devices to create effects which would simply not be possible in the theatre. This post concludes my chronological journey through the best documented productions in my Greeks on Screen case study. (Good timing, too, Screen Plays will shortly announce the ‘Classics on TV: Greek Tragedy on the Small Screen’ season of screenings at BFI Southbank in June 2012, together with an associated symposium at the University of Westminster on 22 June … save the date and watch this space!) Continue reading

Greek plays: Philoctetes (BBC Schools, 1961-62)

In 1961 and 1962 Sophocles’ Philoctetes was produced by BBC Schools and transmitted in two parts in a series on ‘Greek Drama’ for Sixth Forms. The series also featured a production of Euripides’ Bacchae and introductions to the two plays by the moral philosopher Bernard Williams. This post offers my thoughts on the first half of Philoctetes which exists in the BBC’s archives. Continue reading

Greek plays: viewing Women of Troy (BBC, 1958)

In August this year I blogged about the first well documented (and possibly first ever) production of Greek tragedy to appear on British television—the 1958 BBC Women of Troy, the harrowing tragedy by Euripides that follows the fates of the women after Troy has been sacked and their husbands killed—which was produced by Casper Wrede … Continue reading

Greek plays: Women of Troy (BBC, 1958)

In my recent post Greeks on screen, I offered a preliminary survey of productions of Greek drama on British television. Today I would like to build on that by looking in more detail at the first well documented production―the 1958 BBC production of Women of Troy, the harrowing tragedy by Euripides that follows the fates of the women after Troy has been sacked and their husbands killed. Continue reading

Emitron camera at Alexandra Palace