Network's 'Forgotten TV Drama' range

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Billy Smart
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Network's 'Forgotten TV Drama' range

Post by Billy Smart »

The Network press release for The Frighteners reveals that it is to be the first of a new range of drama titles taken from the ITV archive:
About FORGOTTEN TV DRAMA

Broadcast only once (or at most twice) in a time before on-demand, catch-up or the video recorder, most of the drama made for British television up until the early 1980s has lain unseen for generations. Since 2013, The 'History of Forgotten Television Drama in the UK' research project at Royal Holloway, University of London, has existed to investigate and celebrate the tremendous wealth of neglected dramas made for British TV, unearthing forgotten treasures and presenting them again to new audiences.

‘Forgotten TV Drama’ is a new range of DVDs presented by Network Distributing Ltd in association with the project. Selected and curated by TV experts Lez Cooke, John Hill and Billy Smart, the collection will make a wide selection of unseen titles from the ITV archive available once again. The range aims to encompass a broad spectrum of plays, series and serials; comic and tragic, realistic and fantastical, film and videotape, lavish and intimate.

The Frighteners - a series of 13 short psychological horror films from the early 1970s - is our launch title and encapsulates our aims for the ‘Forgotten TV Drama’ range.
At least half a dozen titles are planned.

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Ross
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Post by Ross »

Sounds great. Any hints on any future releases, Billy? Will there be any Seventies kids shows?

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Billy Smart
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Re: Network's 'Forgotten TV Drama' range

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Ross wrote:Sounds great. Any hints on any future releases, Billy? Will there be any Seventies kids shows?
I don't think that we put any children's drama down in our longlist. Not because of any pejorative value judgement on our part, but because it tends to be less forgotten than many other dramas and would be the sort of titles that Network already intended to release. The first half dozen titles in the works include serials and collections of single plays. They all date from 1969-79 and were produced by Granada, LWT and Thames. But some earlier dramas (and ones from the other companies) are planned, too.

The time-span of our project is 1946-82. 1982 was a good cut-off point because it was the year of the launch of Channel 4 (as well as changes to the ITV franchises) and by that time you'd expect everything to survive. So there won't be many titles from later than the early 1980s. Possibly a few will turn up here and there, though.

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Ross
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Post by Ross »

Ah, sounds like just my kind of thing. I look forward to more announcements.

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Re: Network's 'Forgotten TV Drama' range

Post by stuartfanning »

I guess a longrunning series like 'No Hiding Place' will not be considered for this because of the sort of programme it was. I still live in hope of a release of the surviving episodes.

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Post by Mark »

Excellent idea, plenty to choose from.

There was a three play series in 1970, called "Grady", a spin-off from "The Main Chance", with Anthony Bate playing the title character, would be nice to see those.

Speaking of Anthony Bate, he also appeared in an episode of ATV's "Suspicion" the following year, which would also be good to see again.

A collection of plays with Ian Hendry ( always excellent) would give the perfect excuse to bung on the surviving episode of "The Adventures Of Don Quick" as well.

There was a play which spoofed the 1968 franchise round, but I can't recall what it was called, and I don't think it survives anyway, so that ( if I'm very much mistaken) severely reduces it's chances for a DVD release.
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Billy Smart
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Re: Network's 'Forgotten TV Drama' range

Post by Billy Smart »

Mark wrote:There was a play which spoofed the 1968 franchise round, but I can't recall what it was called, and I don't think it survives anyway, so that ( if I'm very much mistaken) severely reduces it's chances for a DVD release.
That sounds like Sunday Night Theatre: Fade Out (HTV 1970), which does appear to survive. I wrote a bit about it in this article - https://forgottentelevisiondrama.wordpr ... k-1968-81/

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Richard A
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Post by Richard A »

Billy Smart wrote:
Mark wrote:There was a play which spoofed the 1968 franchise round, but I can't recall what it was called, and I don't think it survives anyway, so that ( if I'm very much mistaken) severely reduces it's chances for a DVD release.
That sounds like Sunday Night Theatre: Fade Out (HTV 1970), which does appear to survive. I wrote a bit about it in this article - https://forgottentelevisiondrama.wordpr ... k-1968-81/
Fade Out is a drama that I watched and enjoyed at a relatively young age and one I'd love to see again. It made a big impression on me at the time, I think because of the idea of being prepared to give up something that you want on a point of principle.

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Post by Mark »

I would certainly be interested in "Fade Out" if it were to be released.

Always fascinating to see how TV is portrayed dramatically on TV, ( usually, everyone is weary and cynical, as in the excellent episode of "Paul Temple", "Cue Murder").

The one I was thinking of was a satire from LWT, which I have remembered was called "The Franchise Trail" from 1968, pretty sure it doesn't survive though, sadly.
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Post by fatcat »

Granada's The Contenders from 69 sounds like a good storyline ..never repeated.

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Post by Razor Eddie »

Mark wrote:Excellent idea, plenty to choose from.

There was a three play series in 1970, called "Grady", a spin-off from "The Main Chance", with Anthony Bate playing the title character, would be nice to see those.
How about including that in an Edmund Ward box set:

The Casualties (1962)
Drama 62: Recuriting Poster (1962)
Play of the Week: The Facing Chair (1963)
Front Page Story (1965)

Just saying...
Contents may settle after packing.

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Post by Mark »

Razor Eddie wrote:
Mark wrote:Excellent idea, plenty to choose from.

There was a three play series in 1970, called "Grady", a spin-off from "The Main Chance", with Anthony Bate playing the title character, would be nice to see those.
How about including that in an Edmund Ward box set:

The Casualties (1962)
Drama 62: Recuriting Poster (1962)
Play of the Week: The Facing Chair (1963)
Front Page Story (1965)

Just saying...
Yeah...nice idea...could also include his 1972 series, "The Challengers", good writer, Edmund Ward.

I would also like a Raymond Bowers collection, ( I'm sure Billy would be up for that one!).
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Post by Billy Smart »

As its now up on Amazon, I can confirm that The Nearly Man (Granada) is to be the second 'Forgotten TV Drama' release, in a package that will include both the original 1974 single play and the subsequent 1975 7 episode series.

Starring Tony Britton as a Labour MP, its an interesting comparison point to Bill Brand (Thames 1976) and was the first collaboration between writer Arthur Hopcraft and director John Irvin, who subsequently worked together on Hard Times (Granada 1977) and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (BBC 1979).

We screened the initial 1974 film at our 'Television's Forgotten Dramas' season at BFI Southbank in February. Here's a short article about it - https://forgottentelevisiondrama.wordpr ... early-man/

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A piece by John Wyver about The Frighteners and the aims of the range - http://www.illuminationsmedia.co.uk/the ... ers-found/

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Billy Smart wrote:A piece by John Wyver about The Frighteners and the aims of the range - http://www.illuminationsmedia.co.uk/the ... ers-found/
People should check out Illuminations's DVD range, which can be cheaper than when available on a well-known tax-dodging online retailer's site (although it's a shame their A Day to Remember isn't available).
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Post by Nick Cooper 625 »

A "Giles Cooper at ITV" box set would be wonderful.
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Post by Billy Smart »

As its now up on Amazon, I can confirm that Studio 64: The Crunch (ATV 1964) is to be our third release, backed by two later Nigel Kneale plays made for Central, Unnatural Causes: Ladies' Night (1986) and The ITV Play: Gentry (1988)

"Best known for his pioneering Quatermass stories and harrowing adaptation of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty Four, as well as later TV triumphs like The Stone Tape and The Woman in Black, Nigel Kneale is widely regarded as one of Britain's greatest scriptwriters. Making his name at the BBC in the 1950s, he subsequently wrote acclaimed dramas for ITV over the following decades of which three are presented here.

The plays on this set showcase some of Kneale's most enduring themes: a deep sympathy for the plight of the individual facing an unimaginable threat; the unease and paranoia of the Cold War era, and fears of an uncertain near-future; and the volatility and potential menace of the crowd.

THE CRUNCH stars Harry Andrews as a prime minister attempting to avert a nuclear catastrophe in London; Maxwell Shaw, Anthony Bushell and Peter Bowles are among his co-stars.

LADIES' NIGHT is a chilling story of misogyny as members of a gentlemen's club turn on a woman who ridicules them; a strong cast includes Alfred Burke, Ronald Pickup and Bryan Pringle.

GENTRY stars Roger Daltrey in a blackly comic suspense drama in which a couple buy a shabby house in an up-and-coming area but find themselves drawn into the aftermath of an armed robbery."

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Post by bent_halo »

I remember The Crunch well from its BFI screening. It'll be great to see it again, and I've never even seen Ladies' Night!

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Nick Cooper 625 wrote:A "Giles Cooper at ITV" box set would be wonderful.
What on earth is going on with that radio plays collection? Launch event in December. Contributor copies a couple of months ago. But can I find it anywhere online or in the shops?

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Post by Billy Smart »

bent_halo wrote:
Nick Cooper 625 wrote:A "Giles Cooper at ITV" box set would be wonderful.
What on earth is going on with that radio plays collection? Launch event in December. Contributor copies a couple of months ago. But can I find it anywhere online or in the shops?
Held up by rights problems, I heard at the last meeting of the Southern Broadcasting History Group. The University of Bournemouth don't have very much experience as a record label.

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Post by bent_halo »

Ah.

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Post by stearn »

Not sure why the rights problems as they had cleared it with the Cooper Estate, the BBC, and Radio Times for the cuttings included.

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Post by Mark »

A Kneale set...great idea.

"The Crunch" in particular, and more Alfred Burke as well, it's turning out to be quite an exciting range.
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Post by Nick Cooper 625 »

I'll flag this, as I already have it:

Oxfam: Six Radio Plays by Giles Cooper
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Post by fatcat »

Nick Cooper 625 wrote:A "Giles Cooper at ITV" box set would be wonderful.
I often wonder where his imagination would have took us if his life hadn't been cut short.

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Post by Billy Smart »

The Nearly Man will include a booklet, featuring Viewing Notes by John Hill and a boxed-out interview with director John Irvin.

The Crunch & Other Stories will include a booklet, featuring an Introduction from Gentry director Roy Battersby and Viewing Notes by Billy Smart.

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Post by bent_halo »

Not wishing to crash on Billy's produce, but that Giles Cooper radio set is finally available:

http://www.inthedarkradio.org/giles-coo ... dio-plays/

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Post by Brock »

bent_halo wrote:Not wishing to crash on Billy's produce, but that Giles Cooper radio set is finally available:

http://www.inthedarkradio.org/giles-coo ... dio-plays/
I know, because I have it sitting here next to me. It was lent to me by his granddaughter, who lives in one of the flats upstairs.

Incidentally, Unman Wittering and Zigo was broadcast on Radio 4 Extra last week:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b092g2h0

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Post by stearn »

I don't know which version was broadcast by R4X, presumably the one held by Sound Archives, but the version on the discs is a restored hybrid of the original broadcast and the version issued by Transcription Services, so is longer than either.

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Post by The Lurker In The Shadows »

Brock wrote:
Incidentally, Unman Wittering and Zigo was broadcast on Radio 4 Extra last week:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b092g2h0
I see that the Credits on the BBC page there are for the 1971 film cast and not the radio cast.

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