Hedda Gabler is generally considered one of the great dramatic roles in theatre. The heroine (of sorts) of Ibsen’s eponymous play, she is a woman who has recently married, not out of love but because she thinks her years of youthful abandon are over. Into her life comes the writer and her former lover Eilert Lovborg, who throws both her and her new husband’s life into disarray.
Since its 1890 publication, Hedda Gabler has been performed many, many times all over the world. Indeed, Sheridan Smith did a superb job back in September at the Old Vic last year. However, back in October 1972, it was Janet Suzman’s turn to play Gabler in Waris Hussein’s production for BBC Play of the Month. Co-staring (Sir) Ian McKellen has Gabler’s husband, Tom Bell as Lovborg and Jane Asher as Lovborg’s lover Thea Elvsted, it’s generally considered to be one of the best adaptions ever recorded, with Suzman more or less perfect as Gabler.