Amanda Wrigley
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A revival, a reworking and an original
The Harold Pinter season on Theatre 625 (BBC2, 1967)
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Theatre 625 (1964–8) was BBC2’s most prestigious drama strand in its early years from its launch in 1964, presenting often experimental and innovative television productions of plays in short thematic seasons.

In February 1967, Theatre 625 transmitted three plays by Harold Pinter in consecutive weeks. Produced by Michael Bakewell, the season consisted of A Slight Ache, Pinter’s first play written for radio, broadcast by the BBC in 1959; A Night Out which, although it had premiered on BBC Radio in March 1960, had originally been developed as a television play (and in April 1960 an ABC for ITV production of it reached 6.4m households); and The Basement, initially an unproduced screen play, received its first production in this season as an original work for television.

Employing textual analysis and drawing on archival documentation, this chapter discusses how this Theatre 625 season sought to engage with the legacy to this point of Pinter on radio and television (the main channels that Pinter had become a well-known name amongst non-theatre-going households), whilst at the same time producing new work that was distinctive and, in some ways (e.g. design, editing), engaged in a sophisticated way with Pinter’s dramatic range and now-established reputation.

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Screen plays

Theatre plays on British television

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