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Armchair Theatre - Volume 3 [DVD]
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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.
 Now Let Him Go retakes - alternate takes from the oldest surviving edition
 Old Man's Fancy - an unaired play from 1964
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Refer to my 'Plays For Britain review, and laugh. I laughed that much I bought the whole series.Published 5 months ago by Anthony Goodwin
One or two of these are really good and I didn't enjoy many others. It's misleading to advertise them as starring Patrick McGoohan when he only plays a part in one of them ... Read morePublished 23 months ago by GPR
I was a "Call Boy" during the Armchair Theatre productions at ABC TV at Teddington Studios these DVDs bring back a whole host of memories for me. Read morePublished on 17 Oct. 2014 by chips