Time for our regular look at the TV that the BFI is showing, this time in the month of June 2012. Not a huge amount but what there is is cracking.
As well as a 1962 production of The Winter's Tale with Robert Shaw, Rosalie Crutchley, Ron Moody and Patrick Macnee, there's an illustrated lecture on TV's depiction of women in the workplace by Dr Rachel Moseley of Warwick University, and – Δευς! – it's a season of Greek tragedies on TV, including that famous 1962 production of Elektra that ITV aired in Greek without subtitles, as well as Oedipus Tyrannus with Patrick Stewart, Ronald Radd and Rosalie Crutchley (again), Agamemnon with Helen Mirren and Diana Rigg, Peter Hall's The Oresteia with David Bamber, and Iphigenia at Aulis with Roy Marsden and Fiona Shaw.
I'm going to be bankrupt before the end of the month, aren't I?
Fri 1 June 17:50 NFT2 UnLOCked: The Winter’s Tale
BBC 1962. Dir Don Taylor. With Robert Shaw, Ron Moody, Rosalie Crutchley, Patrick Macnee. 144min
Producer-director Don Taylor summed it up succinctly in the Radio Times: ‘imagine a single play which included among its characters Othello, Falstaff and Romeo and Juliet and we might have some idea of the variety of The Winter’s Tale.’ This was the first British television production of the play and (according to Taylor) its aim was for ‘simplicity and understanding’. In Sicilia, the grim royal court setting of sinister statues and dark, vaulted ceilings exaggerates the gloomy, tragic tone of the first part of the play. For the second part, life amongst the shepherds of Bohemia is much brighter (literally) and joyful; with romance, song and celebration... but beware of the bear.
Thu 7 June 18:10 NFT3 Play of the Month: King Oedipus + Oedipus Tyrannus
BBC 1972. Dir Alan Bridges. With Sheila Allen, Anthony Batea, Ian Holm, Alan Webb. 75min
BBC-The Open University 1977. Dir Richard Callanan. With Rosalie Crutchley, Patrick Stewart, John Forbes-Robertson, Ronald Radd. 50min
The first production reinvents the play for the small screen, while the second is an abridged version of the second half of the play with half-masked actors.
Wed 13 June 18:15 NFT3 Electra + Extract: Women of Troy + Panel + Q&A with Fiona Shaw
Associated Rediffusion's beautifully choreographed version of Dimitris Rondiris' production of Sophocles' play in modern Greek without subtitles. Followed by a 17m extract from the earliest known production of a Greek play – Euripides' Trojan Women, and a panel and Q&A with actor Fiona Shaw and classic scholar Oliver Taplin exploring the rich history of Greek plays on British TV.
Tue 19 June 18:10 NFT2 The Serpent Son: Part One: Agamemnon + Of Mycenae and Men
BBC 1979. Dir Bill Hays. With Helen Mirren, Denis Quilley, Diana Rigg. 95min
BBC 1979. Dir Hugh David. With Diana Dors, Bob Hoskins and Freddie Jones. 30mins
The first play features Diana Rigg as Clytemnestra and state-of-the-art technology, while the second is an original comedy by Frederic Raphael and Kenneth McLeish (who translated The Serpent Son) in the style of Greek satyr plays and telling the tale of the reunion of Helen with Menelaus after the fall of Troy (must… restrain… fist… of… death).
Wed 20 June 18:15 NFT3 Career Girls on TV
Illustrated Lecture by Dr Rachel Moseley + Q&A
Long before the hit US series Mad Men, British television occasionally focused on the professional and personal lives of working women. This talk, by the Senior Lecturer in Film and Television Studies, Warwick University, will look at popular programmes from Compact through Agony, Connie and Prime Suspect to explore British TV’s representation of women in the workplace since the 60s. A discussion and Q&A session will follow, with writer Abi Morgan (The Hour, The Iron Lady), actor Amanda Redman – both work permitting – Hilary Salmon (Executive Producer, BBC Drama) and chair Kate Kinninmont (Chief Executive, Women in Film and Television). With generous support from AHRC.
Sat 23 June 15.50 NFT3 The Oresteia
C4 1983. Dir Peter Hall. With David Bamber, Philip Donaghy, Greg Hicks, John Normington
97 + 69 + 69min + interval
Peter Hall's famous 1981 production of the all-male, masked Oresteia for the National Theatre was transmitted over one evening in 1983.
Thu 26 June 18:00 NFT3 Theatre Night: Iphigenia at Aulis
BBC 1990. Dir Don Taylor. With Imogen Boorman, Roy Marsden, Fiona Shaw, Tim Woodward. 120 min
Fiona Shaw as Clytemnestra in this tale of her husband Agamemnon's plot to sacrifice their daughter Iphigenia to secure fair winds for the journey to Troy.
Champions' priority booking: 11.30am April 30
Members' priority booking opens: 11.30am May 1
Public booking opens: May 8
£5.25 (member concs)
£6.75 (non-members concs)
Under 16s £5.00.
All shows are £5 on Tuesdays. Conc prices are available to senior citizens, students, unwaged and disability visitors. Proof of eligibility may be required.
Tickets for the Dickens sessions are £10, concs £6.75, with members paying £1.50 less. A joint ticket for all three Dickens sessions is £20.75, concs £13.75, with members paying £1.50 less.
As always, visit the BFI web site for more details.
- June 8, 2012: Because there needs to be more pictures of Patrick Stewart in a Greek tragedy half-mask and knitted wig on this blog
Patrick Stewart in Oidipous Tyrannos
- September 19, 2012: The Wednesday Plays: Oedipus the King/Oedipus at Colonus/Antigone (1986)
Don Taylor's productions of Oedipus The King, Oedipus at Colonus and Antigone for the BBC
- May 10, 2013: Your handy guide to true religions on TV
Your handy guide to true religions on TV
- May 13, 2013: Your handy guide to true religions on TV - Hellenism and Religio Romana
All the scripted shows on Western, English-language TV that have not just featured Hellenism or Religio Romana but have actually shown them to be true in some way or other