This tag is associated with 6 posts

Scenes from Macbeth (BBC, 1937)

Following on from my note that I intend to do a number of less expansive contributions here, this is another post that does little more than draw attention to an interesting article from the earliest years of television. Researching pre-war adaptations of specific theatre productions of Shakespeare, I was intrigued to discover a 1937 review of scenes from Macbeth with Laurence Olivier. This anonymous response highlighted questions about television, theatre and the cinema that continue to pre-occupy those of us engaged by broadcasts of plays on television and for the likes of NT Live and RSC Live from Stratford-upon-Avon. 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

100 television stage plays: [9] 1991-2000

By the 1990s, televised stage plays were increasingly rare on all of television’s terrestrial channels. At the BBC the form was now largely confined to the impressive Performance strand, the ITV companies now had next-to-no interest, and Channel 4 arts and drama offerings were looking elsewhere. The reasons for this decline are complex, and will be a key part of the broader story that our research aims to explore. But for the present, this outline of one hundred significant television stage plays, offering a first tentative map of the history of the form, has far fewer options from which to choose for this final decade of the century. Continue reading

100 television stage plays: [8] 1982-1990

British television changed fundamentally with the arrival of Channel 4 on 2 November 1982. Independent production became for the first time a viable method of working with broadcasters – and the channel in these early years took seriously its statutory mandate ‘to encourage innovation and experiment in the form and content of programmes’. With ten productions from across the channels from the following eight years, this outline of one hundred significant television stage plays continues our first tentative map of the history of the form. Continue reading

100 television stage plays: [7] 1976-1981

Having split the BBC and ITV outputs in the previous four posts, here I am considering them together for the six years before the arrival of Channel 4. As before, this outline of one hundred significant television stage plays offers a first tentative map of the history of the form. Some of the productions no longer exist, and of the ones that are still in the archives, there are many that I have not (yet) seen. Continue reading

A307 Drama: Macbeth (BBC / The Open University, 1977)

My last post discussed a 1977 BBC Television transmission of a production of Sophocles’ tragedy Oedipus the King. This was the first in a series of sixteen co-productions with The Open University designed to support the work of distance-learning students who were enrolled on the course A307 Drama. Today I will continue my wider case study on stage plays produced on television in educational contexts by turning to the second production in this series―Macbeth, directed by Paul Kafno. Corin Redgrave took the title role, Ann Bell played Lady Macbeth, John Golightly Banquo and John Richard Beale Duncan. Continue reading

Emitron camera at Alexandra Palace