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1970s, ATV, BFI, Billy Smart, John Osborne, Uncategorized

‘Forgotten Television Dramas 2’ at BFI Southbank: ‘Sunday Night Theatre: The Hotel in Amsterdam’ (ATV/ ITV, 1971)

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Our second ‘Forgotten Television Dramas’ season launches at 6.00 this evening with a screening of John Osborne’s ‘The Hotel in Amsterdam’, unseen since 1971. A full article about this play (and a later 2004 BBC production) can be found on our blog here.

The screening will be followed by a discussion with the play’s director (both on screen and the original 1968 stage production at the Royal Court) Anthony Page, and the playwright Nicholas Wright. Although both of our guests are best known for their careers in the theatre, both had early careers in television (Wright as a floor assistant at the BBC, and Page directing three early episodes of Z Cars).  Anthony Page has continued to direct for television since the 1960s with productions including David Mercer’s The Parachute (BBC 1968), Rodney Ackland’s Absolute Hell with Judi Dench (BBC 1991) and Andrew Davies’ epic adaptation of Middlemarch (BBC 1994). Nicholas Wright has written two plays about television The Reporter (2007) and Rattigan’s Nijinsky from an unproduced television script by Terence Rattigan (2011).

Nicholas Wright has described The Hotel in Amsterdam as “so soundly forgotten as to amount to a sort of state secret (…) a minutely accurate time-marker: as beautiful and light-headed as Hockney’s ‘Bigger Splash’ paintings, and with the same undertow of melancholy. No tatty bedsits or seedy offices here: it’s all weekends abroad and champagne on ice. But:

…Lounging together, basting themselves with comfort, staring into pools. A swimming pool is a terrible thing to look into on a holiday. Its no past and no future. You can stare into a stream or a ditch. Who wouldn’t rather die in a ditch than in a pool?…

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