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The early days of TV

By Black Country Bugle User  |  Posted: October 16, 2008

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IN THE latest Alan Keeling production, the television drama comes under the spotlight . . .

"In 1954, a year before ITV programmes commenced, a number of single plays or dramas were filmed at Elstree Studios by High Definition Films for Towers of London Productions. The producer was Alan Towers and he is now officially recognised as the inventor of the good old British television movie. 'Television Playhouse' was the title given to a series of films, and the very first was a 90 minute adaptation of James Bridie's play about the infamous body snatchers Burke and Hare called The Anatomist, in which Alistair Sim played the lead role of Dr Knox.

"A total of 27 ninety and sixty minute dramas were made between 1954 and 1956 (possibly in my opinion for the US market), and several famous household names appeared in the various stories. They included Jean Kent, Clifford Evans, Rupert Davies, Lionel Jeffries, Edith Evans, Roger Livesey, Greta Gynt, William Franklyn, Alfred Burke, Sylvia Syms and John Gielgud. Later in the 1950s the dramas were repeated in most ITV regions under the title Filmed Playhouse.

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