Richard Eyre's six-part series on the English-speaking theatre of the 20th Century.
Eyre looks at influences on the British theatre as he came to the end of his tenure as the National Theatre's artistic director; typically, he focuses on a few key writers per episode, loosely organised into factions or geographical influence (thus, in the episode on the American influences we get Odets, Williams, Miller and the Broadway musical).
The presentation relies heavily on clips from the plays discussed, archive interview footage, and contemporary talking head comments. Eyre himself presents throughout, and no one can doubt his enthusiasm and commitment to the craft he has long perfected as a director of drama and musicals. This is a valuable and now rarely-seen series.
What follows is a highly original survey of modern British theatre, beginning with Shakespeare, "the DNA of British theatre", and moving through the pervasive influence of Irish playwrights (Congreve, Shaw, Wilde and Yeats), the significance of the American influences from O'Neill to Rodgers and Hammerstein, the impact of Brecht, the breakthrough of Look Back in Anger in 1956, and concluding chapters on the current state of the theatre.