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Michael Barry

This tag is associated with 3 posts

Bookshelf: The Wars of the Roses (1970) by John Barton with Peter Hall

In my earlier post about Michael Barry’s memoir From the Palace to the Grove which details his life in television from 1938 to 1952 I lamented that he did not twin this revealing volume with a personal account of his later career. That prompted me to pull from my shelf a handsome volume that, in part, is a commemoration of one of Barry’s greatest small-screen triumphs. The Wars of the Roses by John Barton with Peter Hall (and some assistance from William Shakespeare) was published by the British Broadcasting Corporation in 1970. That date is rather odd since it is the script of an adaptation of four of Shakespeare’s History plays that was first seen in Stratford-upon-Avon in August 1963 and then shown in three parts on BBC Television on 8, 15 and 22 April 1965. Continue reading

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Bookshelf: From the Palace to the Grove (1992) by Michael Barry

It has been a while since we contributed a volume to the Screen Plays virtual bookshelf, although previous reviews can be found here, here, here, here and here. I want to remedy the lack with a brief response to a fascinating memoir written in 1987 by Michael Barry who was BBC Head of Drama from 1952 to 1961. There is an excellent summary of his career at the British Television Drama website, including an outline of why he left the corporation in 1961 after disagreements over the direction of his department. From the Palace to the Grove, however, chronicles his years in television before he took up the executive position and covers his work as a producer from 1938 to 1951. Continue reading

Bookshelf: Television Jubilee (1961) by Gordon Ross

Gordon Ross’s Television Jubilee: The Story of Twenty-Five Years of BBC Television (London: W. H. Allen, 1961) was published in the run-up to the quarter-century anniversary of the start of the BBC Television service from Alexandra Palace. Exactly fifty years on, the book is valuable both as an outline history of the first years and as a kind of self-portrait of the medium at that moment. Continue reading