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Granada

This tag is associated with 14 posts

Arthur Miller on the small screen 3: The Crucible

Arthur Miller’s (1915-2005) American tragedies have not only proved to be extremely popular on both British professional and amateur stages for more than half a century but they have also enjoyed a longstanding place at the heart of English literature curricula in schools. It is not surprising, therefore, to discover that at least twelve productions of his plays have been transmitted on British television networks over a forty-year period from 1957 to 1997. This third in a series of four posts considers the three extant productions of The Crucible transmitted in 1959 (Granada), 1968 (Rediffusion) and 1981 (BBC), with a special focus on the last of the three for which a viewing copy exists in the archives. Continue reading

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Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Granada for ITV, 1976)

The third screening in our Classics on TV: Great American Playwrights season at BFI Southbank this month is of the 1976 Granada for ITV production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Tennessee Williams’ 1955 Pulitzer-winning play of a Deep South family in crisis. Robert Moore directs this sumptuous production, starring Laurence Olivier as Big Daddy, Robert Wagner as his alcoholic son Brick and Natalie Wood as Brick’s dissatisfied wife. Continue reading

From Edward Albee to Tennessee Williams: American drama on the British small screen

One of the things I’m working on at the moment is turning my Arthur Miller blog posts into an essay for the Screen Plays collection Theatre Plays on British Television which John Wyver and I are editing for publication with Manchester University Press. It strikes me that, for context, it would be very good to get a better idea of how other American plays have been presented on British television in the twentieth century. Continue reading

Stanley Houghton’s The Younger Generation (Granada for ITV, 1959)

Our first blog post of 2014 records some thoughts arising from a viewing of the 1959 Granada production of Stanley Houghton’s The Younger Generation for ITV. This production was one of at least twelve plays from the Manchester School of playwrights of half a century earlier, many of which were adapted for television by Granada’s Gerald Savory, pictured above. The nature of the adaptation process of The Younger Generation for television production in 1959 is the focus here: on the one hand we have elements of what we may call ‘theatrical’ adaptation, by which elements of story and plot are altered to speak more directly to the anticipated audience; on the other hand, there is a substantial degree of adaptation in terms of the form which responds to the technological possibilities of the studio. In addition, Savory (who was a playwright as well as a producer) builds on Houghton’s original theatre play, inventing characters, scenes and strands of plot which develop the original spirit of his play. Continue reading

From the ’50s: Look Back in Anger (BBC and ITV, 1956)

My Screen Plays reading over the past few weeks has concentrated on theatre and television in the 1950s, and this post is the first of a planned series to explore aspects of the subject in that decade. In this piece I focus on television’s presentation in 1956 of John Osborne’s play Look Back in Anger in the English Stage Company presentation at the Royal Court Theatre. Tony Richardson’s premiere production is widely seen as one of a small handful of defining productions for the post-war British theatre, but the story of television’s role in its success is still realtively unknown. Remarkably, before the end of 1956 the BBC had shown an extract of the production in a live outside broadcast and Granada had mounted a full studio production for the ITV network. Continue reading

Arthur Miller on the small screen 2: Granada productions in the late 1950s

Arthur Miller’s (1915-2005) American tragedies have not only proved to be extremely popular on both British professional and amateur stages for more than half a century but they have also enjoyed a longstanding place at the heart of English literature curricula in schools. It is not surprising, therefore, to discover that at least twelve productions of his plays have been transmitted on British television networks over a forty-year period from 1957 to 1997. This second in a series of four posts looks at Granada’s productions of Miller’s plays in the late 1950s. In its second year of broadcasting Granada mounted Death of a Salesman (the subject of my last blog post); this was soon followed by productions of All My Sons, A Memory of Two Mondays and The Crucible, all of which were British television premieres. Continue reading

Blood and Thunder: Women Beware Women (Granada for ITV, 1965)

Our second BFI Southbank season begins on Monday 25 March with a screening of Granada’s 1965 adaptation of Women Beware Women. This will be followed by a discussion with Dame Diana Rigg (who plays Bianca in the production) and Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company Gregory Doran (a few tickets are still available). Following on from Amanda Wrigley’s selection of Greek tragedy on the small screen last June, the six programmes feature Jacobean tragedy made for television (although strictly speaking Hamlet at Elsinore is after a play written in the final years of Elizabeth I). Over the next month or so (the season runs until 29 April) I will be writing about each of the productions and also hoping to prompt thoughts and responses from those who attend the screenings. Continue reading

Arthur Miller on the small screen 1: Death of a Salesman

Arthur Miller’s (1915-2005) American tragedies have not only proved to be extremely popular on both British professional and amateur stages for more than half a century but they have also enjoyed a longstanding place at the heart of English literature curricula in schools. It is not surprising, therefore, to discover that at least twelve productions of his plays have been transmitted on British television networks over a forty-year period from 1957 to 1997. This first in a series of four posts considers the three known productions of Death of a Salesman: a 1957 Play of the Week production by Granada for ITV; a BBC Play of the Month production in 1966; and, finally, David Thacker’s five-part production for BBC Schools in 1996. Continue reading

Serjeant Musgrave’s Dance (Granada for ITV, 1961)

If the promotional material on the inside of the Network DVD of Serjeant Musgrave’s Dance is a guide, the recent release of this play first broadcast on 24 October 1961 can be explained by the central performance by Patrick McGoohan. McGoohan, of course, is the star of both Danger Man (1960-67) and The Prisoner (1967-68), the latter an immensely popular fantasy series. Before these series, however, McGoohan was an admired theatre and television actor, whose small-screen appearances included Ibsen’s Brand (BBC, 1959). And he is compelling as the driven and dangerous ‘Black Jack Musgrave’ in John Arden’s drama, which the critic Michael Billington hails as the playwright’s ‘undoubted masterpiece’. Continue reading

100 television stage plays: [6] ITV, 1965-1975

Periodisation in these posts is, I recognise, fairly random – and nowhere more so than with this fairly arbitrary decade from ITV’s output. In these years before the comfortable broadcasting duopoly was challenged by Channel 4, Sky and the slew of other services that followed, the regional companies continued to produce high quality single dramas, many of which still were derived from originals written for the theatre. Continue reading

Emitron camera at Alexandra Palace