Well, in our Wednesday Play slot, we've featured plays that have changed attitudes, plays that have entertained, adaptations of classic works of fiction, the gritty, the funny, the meta and more. But plays can also be experimental.
Generally, television dramas tend to aim for 'mimesis', to be as close to reality as they can. There's a lot that goes into that: characters that seem like real people, dialogue that sounds like something you'd hear in conversation, logical plotting with effect following cause, and so on.
But art doesn't have to have mimesis, as many a surrealist or Brechtian will tell you. Theatre and to a lesser extent film can try not to mimic reality, but instead to challenge conventions and impose its own.
Television finds this much harder to do, thanks to audience expectations. But sometimes it tries.
All of which is a very pretentious, convoluted and somewhat sophistic build-up to my trying to defend the almost indefensible: Artemis 81.
Originally intended as a mini-series, co-funded by Danish TV, this 1981 TV production by noted scriptwriter David Rudkin (as well as several individual plays for television, he also adapted MR James' The Ash Tree for the BBC's Ghost Stories for Christmas, and contributed to the screenplay for François Truffaut's Fahrenheit 451) saw paranormal novelist Gideon Harlax (Shelley's Hywel Bennett) involved in an epic battle to save the earth from the Angel of Death (Eldorado's Roland Curram) and Danish organist Dr Albrecht Von Drachenfels (Dan O'Herlihy), aided and abetted by his wife, Gwen (Dinah Stabb), an Oxford student (Daniel Day-Lewis, but unrecognisable) and the Angel of Love and Light Helith (Sting, in his first proper acting role).
Now if you've made it through that paragraph without inadvertently sniggering once, you're a stronger and more serious person than I. And if you can make it through the first four minutes of Artemis 81, let alone the whole thing, without doing the same, your Herculian strength of will will become a thing of legend. Follow me after the jump where you can find out more about it and even watch it. All three hours of it. Is that a challenge or what?