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Armchair Theatre - Volume 3 [DVD]

4.5 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Frequently bought together

  • Armchair Theatre - Volume 3 [DVD]
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  • Armchair Theatre - Volume 4 [DVD]
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  • Armchair Theatre: Volume 2 [DVD]
Total price: £38.22
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Product details

  • Actors: Patrick McGoohan, Stanley Baker, Ian Hendry, Janet Munro, Billie Whitelaw
  • Directors: James Ferman, William T. Kotcheff, Charles Jarrott, Philip Saville, Dennis Vance
  • Format: PAL, Black & White, Full Screen, Mono
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Network
  • DVD Release Date: 27 Aug. 2012
  • Run Time: 690 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0085MHEMC
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 13,497 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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Product description

Product Description

Pioneering, enormously influential and often challenging, Armchair Theatre was ITV's flagship drama anthology series. Bringing high-quality contemporary drama to a wider viewing public, the series easily demonstrated the network's potential to rival the BBC's drama output with diverse and powerful plays by some of Britain's most gifted writers.

This set comprises twelve plays taken from the series' first incarnation, produced by ABC and broadcast in the 1950s and '60s. An astonishing roll-call of writers includes J.B. Priestley, Harold Pinter, James Mitchell, Fay Weldon and Alun Owen; Patrick McGoohan, Stanley Baker, Billie Whitelaw, Colin Blakely, Judy Cornwell and Hugh Griffith are among the celebrated and accomplished actors appearing in groundbreaking dramas ranging from the playful to the poignant.

SPECIAL FEATURES
[] Now Let Him Go retakes - alternate takes from the oldest surviving edition
[] Old Man's Fancy - an unaired play from 1964
 

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Fascinating and powerful selection of plays from this extraordinary period of English drama. So many writers and actors who went on to become major figures , if they weren't already. Also fascinating from a social history point of view as the 1960s writing was exploring deeper and darker elements of drama.
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If you are after fast action, hi-octane tv show, then this isn't for you. This is classic great British TV, slow burning, thought provoking and some great performances. You need a brain and concentration to watch these so put your phone, laptop, tablet and life on hold for 50 mins.
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Armchair Theatre - Volume Three contains twelve plays from the show's first decade or so, running from 1957 to 1967. This was the period in which the programme broke new ground in the styles and subject matters of the plays it produced.

From a viewpoint of five decades later, it's hard to appreciate just how revolutionary some of these plays were, but they occurred during a period when television delighted in taking risks, more so as the 1960's progressed.

It starts with the oldest surviving play, "Now Let Him Go", written by J.B. Preistley. Hugh Griffith is in fine form as a celebrated painter, dying in a North Country pub, watching his family squabble over his reputation and legacy.

Stand-out episodes also include "A Night Out" by Harold Pinter, a typically bleak tale starring Tom Bell. There's lighter fare too - such as "Tune On The Old Tax Fiddle" - with an wonderful cast headed by Raymond Huntley, Norman Rossington and John LeMesurier.

The excellent casts, allied to the quality of the plays, are two reasons why this release is so enjoyable. From a young Patrick McGooghan, as a drifting Cosmonaut in "The Man Out There" to Stanley Baker as a ruthless criminal in "The Criminals" this is, at times, a masterclass in acting.

Picture quality is what might be expected from archive material of this age. As per most Network releases, no restoration has been done. It's regrettable, but given that the majority of Network titles are of niche interest, it's not really surprising. It shouldn't affect your viewing pleasure, as the picture quality is quite acceptable.

For anybody interested in the history of British television, Armchair Theatre - Volume 3 is an essential release.
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su perb entertainment if into old plays especially the ones from the 1950s ie the criminals and the man out there. are there any more atv ones available?
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Good quality at a reasonable price makes this a good buy , highly recommended for those who like classic drama
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1st class all round
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Viewing television plays from the period 1957 to 1967, as with this collection from the Armchair Theatre series, requires a degree of toleration. The fact that they are in black and white is not a problem although the picture quality can vary. What have to be got used to are the boxy sets, the often cramped production space and a certain staginess in the presentation. There is also the absence of overt sex, violence and bad language, attributes which may be welcome to some degree but make for a measure of blandness. The twelve plays here are, predictably, a mixed bunch in terms of quality as well as subject matter. The comedies - Tune On The Old Tax Fiddle (Ronald Hardy) and The Snag (Donal Giltinan) - come off worse, being only mildly amusing at best. The first, J B Priestley's Now Let Him Go, is characteristically well-written but, if anything, belongs to an even earlier era, whereas the last to be televised, Poor Cherry (Fay Weldon)is a hesitant nudge towards the more permissive television drama we are all too used to today. The most interesting plays are The Man Out There (Donal Giltinan again)and Living Image (James Broome Lynne). The first of these has the novel idea of a Russian cosmonaut trapped in outer space who makes freakish radio contact with the wife of a Canadian trapper, also isolated and with a seriously ill child on her hands. This generates some genuine tension. The second play concerns an elderly painter of the old school whose artist son has radically different ideas about art, a situation which rapidly causes conflict when the son's rebellious and destructive friends invade the father's studio.Read more ›
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I was in one of these plays so it is nice to have as keepsake.
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