We are pleased to be able to announce details of the second ‘Forgotten Dramas: Rediscovering British Television’s Neglected Plays’ season, held at BFI Southbank this February, curated by Lez Cooke, John Hill and Billy Smart as a part of the AHRC-funded ‘History of Forgotten Television Drama in the UK’ project at Royal Holloway College, University … Continue reading
Researching old television drama is often an archaeological process. When programmes don’t survive, a trained historian and theorist can sometimes pick up (and hopefully convey) some idea of what they might have been like through secondary sources.
Don Taylor‘s production of Harley Granville Barker’s 1907 play Waste approaches space and performance through different directorial techniques to Rudolph Cartier, further demonstrating the variety of visual methods which ‘Edwardian’ dramas could be realized in the television studio.
Edwardian drama on television Between 1967 and 1985 (the period when the BBC regularly transmitted adaptations of classic theatrical plays in mainstream slots) 120 television adaptations of stage plays were transmitted by the BBC as either Plays of the Month, other similar series, or as one-off productions broadcast in the Play of the Month slot.
To help clarify my thinking about what sort of television drama gets remembered and forgotten in Britain, I’ve been looking at how the Radio Times publicised BBC drama over 1946-82, the period covered by the ‘Forgotten Television Drama in the UK’ project.
Luther was the first programme to be shown in the BBC’s Play of the Month series, and was both a highly prestigious and atypical production for its time.
Peter Nichols 1973 play ‘The Common’ (which concludes our ‘TV’s Forgotten Dramas’ season at BFI Southbank on February 26), presents a drama of intricate balances and elegant ironies, realised through the story of two contrasting couples living either side of a common in a London suburb.
In a recent lecture, Huw Weldon, managing director of BBC television said: ‘We feel that, like the theatre at large, we should be wanting if we did not ceaselessly recreate the classics – Shakespeare, Sheridan, Shaw and so on.’ (Dunkley, Chris, ‘Review’, Radio Times, 27 March 1975, p.74)
This post examines Edwardian drama for television through looking at three versions of plays by John Galsworthy made by the BBC in the 1970s.