ITV Play of the Week (TV Series 1955–1974)
ITV Play of the Week
ITV Play of the Week is a 90-minute UK television anthology series produced by a variety of companies including Granada Television, Associated-Rediffusion, ATV and Anglia Television. From 1956 to 1966 approximately 500 episodes aired on ITV. The first production was Ten Minute Alibi, produced by Associated-Rediffusion on 14 May 1956 while the earliest to survive is There Was a Young Lady, transmitted on 23 July 1956 and was telerecorded (film recorded). The first production not to be transmitted live was Henrik Ibsen's The Wild Duck which was also film recorded. The first to be pre-recorded on videotape was Mary Broome, a Granada production broadcast on 3 September 1958. Subsequently, only one play was transmitted live, Associated-Rediffusion's Search Party on 26 July 1960. The recording of The Liberty Man, a Granada production broadcast on 1 October 1958, contains the original advertisements during the first commercial break. The Violent Years was networked from Anglia on its opening night, 27 October 1959, and exists at the University of East Anglia.
The series included You in Your Small Corner by Barry Reckord, first broadcast in June 1962, which was an early taboo breaking drama depicting lovers from white and black backgrounds kissing. This also survives.
Other productions included:
Among its directors were Tony Richardson, Peter Wood, Peter Brook, Vivian Matalon, and Desmond Davis.
Notable guest stars included Sean Connery, Michael Caine, Peter O'Toole, Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh, Maggie Smith, Julie Christie, Alan Bates, Judi Dench, Deborah Kerr, Paul Scofield, Laurence Harvey, Glenda Jackson, Susannah York, Leslie Caron, Richard Harris, Edith Evans, James Mason, Claire Bloom, David McCallum, Donald Sutherland, John Gielgud, Oliver Reed, Mel Ferrer, Diana Rigg, Marius Goring and Margaret Whiting.