This tag is associated with 5 posts

The Edwardians: Performance: The Widowing of Mrs Holroyd (BBC, 1995)

The final presentation in the BFI Southbank Screen Plays season ‘Classics on TV: Edwardian Drama on the Small Screen’ is tonight’s screening of a 1995 production of D. H. Lawrence’s play The Widowing of Mrs Holroyd. It might be thought eccentric to include this in a selection of Edwardian plays. Yet given our interpretation of the Edwardian era as stretching until the start of the First World War, and also given a desire not to restrict the choices simply to society tales and examples of the ‘New Drama’, then there is a strong case for the inclusion of Lawrence’s largely naturalistic play. Continue reading

Arthur Miller on the small screen 5: Broken Glass (BBC, 1997)

This post is the fifth in a series which documents and discusses a variety of engagements with Arthur Miller on British television. The 1997 production of Broken Glass considered here is the most recent (or, in other words, the last) British television production of an Arthur Miller play. Presented as part of the seventh Performance season on BBC2, the production, by David Thacker (who had directed it for the Royal National Theatre three years earlier) has an impressive fluidity and high production values, and it is powerfully acted by Margot Leicester and Henry Goodman (as Sylvia and Philip Gellburg) and Mandy Patinkin as Dr Hyman. The degree of adaptation applied to the text of the stage play, however, with lines attributed to other characters, scenes intercut with each other, and dramatic moments ‘cut-and-pasted’ to alternate places within the drama, raises stimulating questions about the creative techniques and processes which may be drawn upon in the creative ‘re-invention’, almost, of a stage play within the production contexts and televisual languages of the small screen at a particular point in time. Continue reading

Conference report: Theatre Plays on British Television, 19 October 2012

On 21 February 1896 in what was then the Regent Street Polytechnic Louis Lumiére brothers showcased his Cinematographe for the first performance of a moving film to a paying audience in Britain. On Friday what today is the University of Westminster’s Regent Street building hosted an only slightly less auspicious occasion, when some thirty or so interested scholars, together with a contemporary producer or two, gathered for the Screen Plays conference Theatre Plays on British Television. Continue reading

Rattigan on DVD: Performance: The Deep Blue Sea (BBC, 1994)

The BBC has three times mounted Terence Rattigan’s The Deep Blue Sea, a feature film adaptation of which, directed by Terence Davies, is released this week. The BBC productions were broadcast with two decades between each one, in 1954, 1974 and 1994, but only the third of these survives in the archives. (There is also an earlier feature film, made in 1955 by Anatole Litvak with Vivian Leigh.) The 1994 studio recording is released on the five-DVD boxset The Terence Rattigan Collection and this post is devoted primarily to that version, with some notes too about the earlier two outings for the small screen. 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

Emitron camera at Alexandra Palace