Alan Bennett At The BBC

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A selection of BBC plays and observational pieces written by celebrated playwright Alan Bennett. The collection includes: 'A Visit From Miss Prothero', 'Sunset Across the Bay', 'A Day Out', 'A Woman of No Importance', 'Our Winnie', 'An Englishman Abroad', 'Dinner at Noon', 'The Insurance Man', '102 Boulevard Haussman', 'A Question of Attribution' and 'Portrait Or Bust'.

Starring:
Prunella Scales, Alan Bates
Rental Formats:
DVD

Product Details

Discs
  • Alan Bennett At The BBC - Disc 1 ages_12_and_over
  • Alan Bennett At The BBC - Disc 2 ages_12_and_over
  • Alan Bennett At The BBC - Disc 3 ages_12_and_over
  • Alan Bennett At The BBC - Disc 4 ages_12_and_over
Starring Prunella Scales, Alan Bates, Daniel Day-Lewis, Patricia Routledge, Janet McTeer, James Fox
Director John Schlesinger, Stephen Frears, Richard Eyre
Genres Drama
Studio 2 ENTERTAIN VIDEO
Rental release 26 October 2009
Main languages English
Hearing impaired subtitles English

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

139 of 140 people found the following review helpful By M. J. Nelson on 10 Nov. 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
These television films reveal not only what a versatile writer Alan Bennett is but what a loss he is to the medium, since he has written little for it since 1991. His northern roots are well in evidence in the early A Day Out (1972)(about a Halifax cycling club before and after the First World War) and Sunset Across The Bay (1975)(about a Leeds couple whose retirement to Morecambe proves far from being what they hoped). Both films have a rare, understated poignancy. The later, more sophisticated and worldly Bennett is exemplified by his two plays about the Cambridge spies : An Englishman Abroad (1983) and A Question of Attribution (1991), the latter surely being unique in having the Queen herself as a sympathetically-portrayed character. More uncharacteristic in style is the strange and disturbing Kafka-inspired The Insurance Man (1986). There are one or two weaker pieces but overall this is a splendid collection, distinguished by memorable performances by, among others, Patricia Routledge, James Fox, Alan Bates and (as 'HMQ') Prunella Scales.
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106 of 107 people found the following review helpful By Henry Turner on 16 Feb. 2010
Format: DVD
A Visit from Miss Prothero , Sunset Across the Bay, A Day Out, A Woman of No Importance, Our Winnie, An Englishman Abroad, Dinner at Noon, The Insurance Man, 102 Blvd Haussman, A Question of Attribution and Portrait or Bust...

Sorry, not so much a review as a listing, but I'm assuming that if you're reading this it's because you're already a Bennett fan and - like me - you were frustrated because the BBC appears to have been a little coy about listing the contents of the set. If you're a Bennett beginner head straight for A Woman of No Importance and Our Winnie.
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45 of 46 people found the following review helpful By R. A. Seavill on 26 April 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I had a specific reason for investing in this collection: I am shortly to appear on Mastermind answering questions on my specialist subject, the Televesion Plays of Alan Bennett. There are 32 plays in all, and revision has so far consisted in reading the published texts of two earlier series, namely The Writer in Disguise and Objects of Affection, and the two series of famous monologues, Talking Heads. This 4-disc set happily fills in most of the gaps not covered by those volumes. The plays are A Day Out and Sunset Across the Bay from the 1970s, A Visit from Miss Prothero, Our Winnie, A Woman of No Importance (the first of the dramatic monologues he wrote, and an immediate classic), An Englishman Abroad about the spy Guy Burgess, The Insurance Man (about Kafka), 102 Boulevard Haussmann (Proust), and A Question of Attribution featuring a marvellous central dialogue between Royal spy Sir Anthony Blunt (the ever-reliable James Fox) and HMG (Prunella Scales with pitch-perfect accent). Each play is introduced by the author, and the fourth disc also includes the wry and insightful little documentary Portrait or Bust, following Mr Bennett on a visit to Leeds Art Gallery. My only regret is that there was no room to include one of his very best and most characteristic TV plays, Intensive Care - but to bemoan its lack when so many other riches are on offer would be churlish. While Mr Bennett's plays are never quite as cosy as we sometimes think - possibly because they always sound so real, they seem just like life as we know it - for insight, clear-eyed compassion, and an uncanny ear for dialogue, they are unrivalled.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Socrates Smith on 7 Dec. 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Being in the "Alan Bennett can do no wrong" camp I would give it five stars, but if you are new to his work this collection is a superb introduction, excellent value for money and more than deserves the star rating. You will find a wide range of his work on these DVDs and can track his development as a storyyeller and observer of human foibles and failings. The newly filmed introductions for each piece are also worth the purchase price alone. Enjoy!
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89 of 93 people found the following review helpful By Green Knight on 13 Nov. 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Alan Bennett is our Living Cultural Treasure: beware of pretenders to the title!

If you're a Bennett fan, you'd be mad not to have this set of his works for television - and if you like good telly, telly that uses the medium as it was meant to be used, you'd be equally mad not to have this.

First things first: in this handsome boxed set of four DVDs is AN ENGLISHMAN ABROAD - at long last!!! Devotees have been waiting a very long time, and anyone who knows and loves this glorious play will give a sigh of relief and finally lay to rest that worn and torn VHS. The play's companion-piece A QUESTION OF ATTRIBUTION is also here - with Prunella Scales's delicious and thoroughly human portrayal of the Queen in conversation with the traitor Anthony Blunt - her Master of Pictures, superbly played by James Fox. These two plays alone are well worth the asking price, but there is so much more.

Here in ALAN BENNETT AT THE BBC is a wide selection of the writer and commentator at his very best. There are shining examples of his work spanning his whole association with BBC television, everything from A DAY OUT - a black and white piece of nostalgia about a cycling club pedalling to Fountains Abbey in 1911, beautifully acted and observed, and beautifully shot - to the more recent and charming documentary about the everyday life of a hotel in Harrogate.

The great plus is that Bennett introduces each work in person in that beautifully understated, rather lugubrious way of his (remember him reading THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS on radio ?). These introductions are extremely amusing in places, and - like Bennett's writing - also very touching.

To quote the title of a Bennett stage play:
ENJOY!

You will.
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