Following the release of The Frighteners on DVD in May 2017 there have been four more releases this year in the Forgotten TV Drama DVD range (in association with Network).
The second release comprised three Nigel Kneale plays: The Crunch (ATV 1964) is about an attempt to avert a nuclear catastrophe in London, written for ITV’s Studio ’64 series; Ladies’ Night (Central 1986), part of ITV’s Unnatural Causes anthology series, is a chilling story of misogyny involving members of a gentlemen’s club who turn on a woman after she ridicules them; and Gentry (Central 1988) is a suspense drama featuring Roger Daltrey as an East End villain. Billy Smart has written viewing notes for the three plays and director Roy Battersby has written an introduction to Gentry.
The third release in the series is Arthur Hopcraft’s The Nearly Man, a Granada drama about a Labour MP (Tony Britton) who has an uneasy relationship with his northern working-class constituency. The DVD release includes the 1974 single play (voted best single play of the year by the Broadcasting Press Guild) and the seven-part series which followed in 1975. John Hill has written viewing notes, which include an extract from an interview with John Irvin, who directed the original play and four episodes of the series.
The two most recent Forgotten TV Drama releases see the launch of a new series by Network: Armchair Theatre Archive. Following the release by Network of four previous Armchair Theatre collections, Armchair Theatre Archive is designed to make available more of the surviving Armchair Theatre plays.
Volume One contains Alun Richards’ Nothing to Pay (1962), featuring Clifford Evans, Kenneth Griffith and Philip Madoc; Donald Churchill’s The Cherry on the Top (1964), featuring Robert Lang and Pauline Yates; John Hale’s Light the Blue Touch Paper (1966), featuring Ronald Hines and Anna Massey; and Leigh Vance’s Edward the Confessor (1969), featuring Beryl Reid, Ian Holm and Alfred Burke.
Volume Two contains John D. Stewart’s Worm in the Bud (1959), featuring Barry Foster, Joseph Tomelty, Elizabeth Begley and Joseph O’Conor; Angus Wilson’s The Invasion (1963), featuring Patrick Wymark, Frances Rowe, Athene Seyler and Eleanor Summerfield; Andrew Sinclair’s The Chocolate Tree (1963), featuring Paul Rogers, Zena Walker. Peter McEnery and Earl Cameron; and Hugh Whitemore’s What’s Wrong with Humpty Dumpty? (1967), featuring Donald Houston, Katherine Blake and Lynn Redgrave. Viewing notes for both volumes have been written by Lez Cooke, John Hill and Billy Smart. Stephen Bourne has contributed notes on The Chocolate Tree.
Look out for further releases in the Armchair Theatre Archive series, plus other forgotten television dramas, in 2018.