1960s 1970s 1980s Directors Half-Hour Play

Rediscovering the Half-Hour Play: Novice Directors

Our Half-Hour Play season at BFI Southbank gets under way on Wednesday 3 May with a session on Novice Directors. The half-hour play has always provided a great training ground for new and emerging talent. In this selection we feature three plays directed by figures who went on to enjoy great international success. Half-Hour Story: […]

1960s 1970s 1980s Actors Directors Half-Hour Play Writers

Forgotten Television Drama – Rediscovering the Half-Hour Play

We are pleased to announce a new season of Forgotten Television Drama at BFI Soutbank in May 2023. Curated by Lez Cooke this new season, the first since Forgotten Black TV Drama in 2019, provides an opportunity to rediscover a lost form of TV drama: the half-hour television play. Once prevalent on British television, the […]

1960s BBC Directors' Course Brian Parker Directors The Wednesday Play

Brian Parker – Getting Started as a TV Director, 1964-65

Shortly before he died in December 2020 Brian Parker had started to write his memoirs, encouraged apparently by my suggesting it during the course of several months’ correspondence, coupled with the fact that, because of the Coronavirus pandemic, he was sheltering in the Trossachs with no television! If that was the case I wish I’d […]

1970s BBC English Regions Drama Brian Parker David Rose Directors Obituary Play For Today Second City Firsts

Brian Parker (1929-2020)

Brian Parker, who died on 8 December 2020, had a long and eclectic career in television, initially as an actor and then as director of a wide variety of television drama, including popular series such as the BBC’s Softly Softly (from 1966-71) and The Troubleshooters (1966-68), YorkshireTelevision’s Hadleigh (1969-71), Granada Television’s Crown Court (1973-77) and […]

1970s 1980s BBC drama Directors Play For Today Writers

My Ten Plays for Today: Billy Smart

My Ten Plays for Today: Billy Smart This is the latest in a series of posts in which we publish the ‘top ten’ or ‘top five’ Plays for Today identified by a range of writers, researchers and media professionals. The brief was that such lists should not necessarily consist of what were considered to be […]

1970s 1980s BBC drama Directors Mike Leigh Play For Today

Mike Leigh and Play for Today

The following interview was recorded on 14 July 2000 in the bar of the North Stafford Hotel in Stoke-on-Trent. Mike Leigh had travelled up to Stoke from London to receive an Honorary Degree from Staffordshire University, where I was Principal Lecturer in Media Studies, and I was transporting him to and from Trentham Gardens, where […]

1970s Alan Bridges BBC drama David Mercer Directors Play For Today Writers

Play for Today: The Cellar and the Almond Tree

by Jonathan Owen  Written by David Mercer, directed by Alan Bridges and produced by Graeme McDonald. Broadcast on BBC1 at 9.10pm on Wednesday 4 March 1970 (The Wednesday Play) and on BBC1 at 9.20pm on Thursday 10 June 1971 (Play for Today). David Mercer’s The Cellar and the Almond Tree was first broadcast in 1970 […]

1970s Alan Bridges BBC Dennis Potter Directors Play For Today Writers

Play for Today: Traitor

By Joseph Oldham Written by Dennis Potter, directed by Alan Bridges and produced by Graeme McDonald. Broadcast on BBC1 at 9.20 pm on Thursday 14 October 1971. ‘Exiled in Moscow’, declared the front cover of the Radio Times (9-15 October 1971), heralding the return of Play for Today for its second series. The main image […]

1970s 1980s BBC BBC drama BBC English Regions Drama BBC Pebble Mill Black actors Black TV Writers Directors Gay drama John Hill Lesbian drama Northern Ireland Play For Today Radio Times Regional Drama Scotland Writers

Play for Today at 50

Along with Armchair Theatre and The Wednesday Play, Play for Today constitutes one of the most important series of British television drama. Beginning on BBC1 on Thursday 15 October 1970, it continued until 1984, running to over 300 individual plays and regularly commanding audiences of several millions. Launched as a successor to The Wednesday Play […]

1950s 1960s ATV Directors Johnson Over Jordan Lionel Harris Producers

A Life Found in a Skip: Rediscovering Lionel Harris, TV Producer, Director and Actor

A Life Found in a Skip [1] by Joel Finler Virtually forgotten today, Lionel Harris was one of the leading producer/directors of live television drama in the 1950s when adaptations of the most successful West End plays became a staple fare of both the BBC and ITV. He joined the newly formed ITV in 1955 and […]