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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

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Armchair Theatre: The Creditors (Thames, 1972)

Having just watched Philip Saville’s production for ITV of his own adaptation of Strindberg’s drama The Conspirators, I am wondering if there is any production in the history of the television stage play more mis-judged than this one. Doubtless they are out there in the archives, but this Armchair Theatre offering from 1970 is possibly in a class of its own when it comes to productions that are uneasy, under-achieved and – simply – bad. 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

Emitron camera at Alexandra Palace