Drama

Drama

Drama
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Macbeth, the Thane of Glamis, receives a prophecy from a trio of witches that one day he will become King of Scotland. Consumed by ambition and spurred to action by his wife, Macbeth murders his king and takes the throne for himself.

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THIS SELECTION OFFERS FIVE DOCUMENTARIES, DISTRIBUTED ACROSS TWO DVDs. 

'Film Educaton' was strand of documentaries, aimed primarily at media students, analysing the art and craft of movie making, directing and screenwriting. These programmes look specifically at transferring some of the most famous English language plays to the big screen. 

RICHARD III: SHOOTING SHAKESPEARE (1996) 

An analysis of the Richard Loncraine/Ian McKellen film of RICHARD III, looking at the creative choices made in adapting the play. Featuring contributions from Richard Loncraine, Ian McKellen, Nigel Hawthorne, Dominic West and Annette Bening. 

HAMLET - TO CUT, OR NOT TO CUT (1997) 

An analysis of the Kenneth Branagh film of HAMLET, looking at the creative choices made in adapting the play. Featuring contributions from Kenneth Branagh, Dr. Robert Smallwood (Shakespeare Birthplace Trust) and Russell Jackson (script advisor). 

ROMEO AND JULIET - STARS, I DEFY THEE (1997) 
Film Education: William Shakespeare Screening DVD - Branagh Mckellen


An analysis of the Baz Luhrmann film of ROMEO + JULIET, looking at the creative choices made in adapting the play. Featuring contributions from Baz Luhrmann, Gordon Dennis (Ball State University), Claire Danes, Terence Hawkes (University of Wales), John Leguizamo, Leonardo Di Caprio, Paul Sorvino and Diane Venora. 

SCREENING SHAKESPEARE (1997) 

An analysis of the art of adapting Shakespeare for the big screen, looking at the creative choices made in adapting the plays. Featuring contributions from Peter Greenaway (director of Prospero's Books), Adrian Noble (director of Twelfth Night), Richard Briers (who acted in Much Ado About Nothing and Hamlet), Richard Loncraine (dirctor of Richard III), Paul Arnott (producer of A Midsummer Night's Dream), Gordon Dennis (Ball State University), Terence Hawkes (University of Wales), Kenneth Branagh (director of Hamlet and Much Ado About Nothing), Russell Jackson (Branagh's script advisor), Patrick Spottiswoode (Globe Education), Ian McKellen, Al Pacino (director of Looking For Richard), and Dr. Robert Smallwood (Shakespeare Birthplace Trust). 

and, as a bonus feature: 

TRUTH ON TRIAL - THE CRUCIBLE (1997) 

An analysis of the Nicholas Hytner film of Arthur Miller's modern tragedy, looking at the creative choices made in adapting the play. Featuring contributions from Arthur Miller, Joan Allen, Winona Ryder, Nicholas Hytner and Daniel Day Lewis. 

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City Lights was a Scottish television sitcom made by BBC Scotland and set in Glasgow. It was written by Bob Black. Two stage shows, featuring the original cast, toured Scotland. 

It starred Gerard Kelly as Willie Melvin, a bank-teller at the fictional Strathclyde Savings Bank (whose logo was very similar to the TSB), with dreams of becoming a novelist. Most of the plots revolved around his attempts to get his book, the autobiographical My Childhood Up A Close, published. 

He was held back in this by his own incompetence, the dodgy dealings of his best friend Chancer (Andy Gray), and the lack of support he gained from his mother (Jan Wilson), the bank's manager (Dave Anderson) and his obsequious fellow teller, Brian (Jonathan Watson). Other recurring characters included Chancer's friend Tam (Ian McColl) and Willie's current girlfriend. 

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The series dealt with the life of Reg Toomer (Tim Healy), an ex-pat Briton living in Australia and running Melbourne Confidential, a failing private detective agency with his shifty business partner Dennis Tontine (Chris Haywood). His estranged young cousin Leslie (Mark Haddigan) arrives in Melbourne from the United Kingdom after a painful divorce looking for fun and excitement in the new world, instead he finds himself used as a drone for Melbourne Confidential. 

Each episode focused on a particular job undertaken by Melbourne Confidential, each one more elaborate and of more dubious legality than the last. The course of the main plot would often converge with subplots involving Reg's lovelorn wife Doris (Pat Thomson), assertive daughter Arlene (Nadine Garner), Dennis' ex-wife Corrie (Kirsty Child) and kindly madam Delilah (Kris McQuade). 

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Starring Sarah Lancashire. Meg Bartlet a child protection officer, is grieving after the stillbirth of her daughter. Haunted by the tragedy she befriends new mum Christine Rearden whose child Eleanor appears to be suffering from breathing problems. Meg soon begins to suspect that foul play is at work.

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A TV series that follows the Taylor-Chatterjee family, proprietors of a 1980s inspired B&B in Margate.

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Foreign Bodies was the work of playwrights, Graham Reid, from Ulster, and Bernard Farrell, from Dublin; neither had experienced the hatred they were led to believe would greet them when they mixed with people from across the border, and this was the basis for their series. Roisin (Hilary Reynolds) and Septa (Maeve Germaine) are two young nurses from Dublin who go to work at a hospital in Belfast. Roisin meets and falls in love with Tom (Dan Gordon), a young Protestant car mechanic. This causes a series of problems for the young couple, their families and friends. 
 

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A single mother (Toni Braxton) and her gospel community help a man (David Julian Hirsh) whose wife and three children were murdered. In Twist of Faith, the fictional, cross-cultural, music infused love story tells the tale of Jacob Fisher (Hirsh), an Orthodox Jewish Cantor and amateur songwriter from Brooklyn, New York, who witnesses the senseless murder of his wife and three children. Catatonic, Jacob walks out on his Jewish mourning ritual, leaving behind his Jewish garments, wallet and keys. Abandoning his identity, he wanders aimlessly, hoping somehow to understand his tragedy. Fortuitously, he lands in Brent, Alabama (population 2,500), where he is embraced by Nina (Braxton), a single mother and the lead singer of a small gospel choir, her Uncle Moe (Williamson) and their gospel community who help him re-examine his life. While music brings Nina and Jacob together, they try to make sense of his past and their possible future. 

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Merseybeat was a British police procedural television series, with a total of four series broadcast between 2001 and 2004. The programme follows the personal and professional lives of one shift of police officers from the fictional Newton Park police station in Merseyside, England. 

In 2001, prior the launch of the series, Merseybeat attracted controversy due to alleged similarities between its pilot episode and the murder of James Bulger, though the BBC defended the series, saying "there are no associations with the tragic case of James Bulger". 
In late 2003, when Merseybeat commenced its fourth series, it underwent a major revamp, including the scrapping of the title sequence and theme tune, which was replaced with a record from Liverpudlian band Cast. A more "gritty" approach to the drama was also part of the revamp, with the introduction of the station's CID and Mark Womack, formerly of Liverpool 1 as DI Hammond. 

For the first three series, filming took place mainly in the Cheshire towns of Widnes and Runcorn (both within the Borough of Halton), making heavy use of local landmarks such as the Silver Jubilee Bridge and Fiddlers Ferry power station. The police station itself was a disused Golden Wonder factory, which is located in Widnes. For the fourth and final series, filming was moved to Liverpool. 

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The series was set around a telephone exchange in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the title of the show being borrowed from the nickname that women who worked at exchanges were given. The first series was set in 1959 and the second one in 1961. 

The Hello Girls was launched with much promotion aimed around former EastEnders actress Letitia Dean, who played Chris Cross, one of the 'girls' who worked at the telephone exchange. It performed very well in the ratings for both of its series. 

The series' theme tune was in the style of 1950s music, which also can be heard throughout the episodes. 

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An all-female detective outfit, the "Eyes Enquiry Agency", is formed as a front for the Home Office's new security operation the Covert Activities Thames Section (or CATS for short). 
Initially led by ex-Oxford Union President Pru Standfast, she was followed by experienced ex-cop Maggie Forbes (who later led the section), computer genius Frederica "Fred" Smith and later Tessa Robinson

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A darkly hilarious satire of old age based on the novel by England's favorite curmudgeon, Kingsley Amis, Ending Up will keep you simultaneously laughing and gasping in horror. Tuppenny-Hapenny Cottage is home to a hodgepodge of oldsters forced to live together more out of financial consideration than mutual affection. In this bizarre household, each of the elderly resident's unique peeves, ailments, quirks, and charms compounds into a terrible, wonderful tragicomedy of what it means to be old in Britain. The residents are divided in most things; some, for example, dote on the resident dog, others loathe it. The strange entourage is made up of vivid, well-acted characters including a man struggling with his vocabulary after a stroke, a woman concerned about her increasing senility, and a practical joker who often goes too far. 
This is a refreshing look at old age without the kid gloves and an unsanctimonious sense of sarcasm. 

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Five ageing mates play football together every Tuesday evening. They lose every game but don't care because as soon as the match is over they hit the pubs and the clubs and gradually their lives spiral downhill.
Men Only is the antithesis of the current trend for cool laddy drama. It doesn't glorify the action of the men nor does it place them in some cartoon world. What is most striking about thesemen is their apparent normality.
Writer Richard Cottan, believes this is one of the most challenging aspects of the drama, especially for women: The premise that the man women viewers are sitting next to is potentially the same as the men on the screen is a difficult one:
"Take that guy on the sofa and try to imagine him out of the room, away from his partner. Imagine him feeling frustrated and undervalued. How can that escalate with other men who feel the same way?"
Producer Jake Lushington says of the drama: "It is a world where men seem to be much more schizophrenic, sneakier, guilty, demanding lots of emotional support but also wanting the respect and power which their fathers had but has been lost to them
for a generation."

 
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This year sees the 20th anniversary of what appears to be a long forgotten comedy series, written by and starring Black Country comedian Frank Skinner, called Blue Heaven. The series was filmed in and around Birmingham and the Black Country and featured a number of early television appearances from people who were to go on to much bigger things. 

Blue Heaven started out in 1992, as episode two in a five part series of comedy pilots called Bunch of Fives. The other four episodes were; 
•Dead At Thirty – featuring Jesse Birdsall (Bugs), Paterson Joseph (Casualty, Hustle, Survivors) and Mark Williams (Harry Potter, Hustle, Kinsey) 
•The Weekenders – starring Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer 
•Shall We gather At The River? – featuring Francis Matthews (the voice of Captain Scarlett) and Beryl Reid 
•Miles Better – featuring a young 21 year old actor called David Tennant (Dr Who) 

In 1994 it was commissioned a six part series of Blue Heaven, which aired between 30 July 1994 – 3 September 1994. It told the story of singer Frank Sandford (Skinner) and his keyboard player Roache (Conleth Hill) and their hopes of making it big in the world of pop. Frank is out of work and lives with his parents (played by John Forgeham and Paula Wilcox) who make his life a constant embarrassment. Listed below is an episode summary along with details of the guest stars and some of the locations used for filming. 

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Retired Lord Chancellor Bill Webster decides to sell his memoirs to a tabloid newspaper in order to save his crumbling Cornish house. The Prime Minister wants to stop him as he believes the government will fall if his book is published. One of Bill's old girlfriends, now the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, is sent to try and stop him, but also on his trail is a tabloid journalist who senses a scoop. 

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A fiancee goes to great length to get out of her impending marriage in this British made-for-television movie, which is based on the play of the same name. Elizabeth McGovern stars as a woman about to get married, who meets her one true-love -- who is not her fiancé -- and devises a murderous plot to get rid of her groom-to-be.

Just days before her wedding, Beatrice-Joanna has a chance encounter with Alsemero, and realizes that she has met her one true love. To marry the man she loves, she persuades the love-struck henchman De Flores to murder her fiance, but does not anticipate the tragic consequences of her actions. 

 

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A fondly-remembered four-episode television drama serial . 

Claire Palmore (Jodhi May) is caught in the web of a dangerous religious cult. Her mother (Prunella Scales) hires a cult de-programmer (James Earl Jones) who must rescue her before it's too late. 

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A well-remembered and impressive drama serial set in the world of medicine. 

Edgar Pascoe is a highly successful and charismatic cardiac surgeon. Pre-eminent in his field, he is the embodiment of the upper echelons of medicine: urbane, assured, supremely confident in his own abilities. But he is not infallible - either in the operating theatre or in his private life with his divided family. 
A well-remembered and impressive drama serial set in the world of medicine. 
 
Edgar Pascoe is a highly successful and charismatic cardiac surgeon. Pre-eminent in his field, he is the embodiment of the upper echelons of medicine: urbane, assured, supremely confident in his own abilities. But he is not infallible - either in the operating theatre or in his private life with his divided family. 
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A black comedy which was also the winner of the 1986 'Radio Times' Drama Award. 

A prizegiving evening for the salesmen of the King Double Glazing company, headed by boss Harry King, starts to go very, very wrong. 
A black comedy which was also the winner of the 1986 'Radio Times' Drama Award. 
 
A prizegiving evening for the salesmen of the King Double Glazing company, headed by boss Harry King, starts to go very, very wrong. 
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Several men from Wales travel to the Philippines on an arranged tour to meet Filipina women for romance and possible marriage. None of the women are the ideal Asiatic beauties the men imagined, but by the end of the tour, most of the Welshmen return with a new bride. 

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In the black and white days of post-war British television, Fanny Cradock, with her painted-on eyebrows and excessive make-up, is a colourful figure in every sense, even dyeing the food to make it show up on monochrome sets. But she is also something of a tyrant, disowning her son Chris because she disapproves of his wife, so that even her long-suffering husband and co-presenter Johnnie is powerless to intervene. Fanny's comeuppance comes about when she belittles a competition winner over her choice of menu in a television reality show. Audience disgust at Fanny's over-bearing treatment of Devon housewife Gwen provokes such a backlash that the television company sacks her. After Johnnie's death, she ends up as a resident, still trying to order the cooking, in a retirement home. 
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Germany, March 2000: Detective Alex Fischer investigates the murder of a young Danish woman, whose body has been slashed from head to foot. On the ground beside her are the words in Arabic: "We are crossing". As the threat grows of a mass exodus of refugees caused by civil war in Russia, Fischer sets out on a hazardous search for the truth with refugee Anna. 

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A well-remembered and impressive drama serial set in the world of medicine. 

Edgar Pascoe is a highly successful and charismatic cardiac surgeon. Pre-eminent in his field, he is the embodiment of the upper echelons of medicine: urbane, assured, supremely confident in his own abilities. But he is not infallible - either in the operating theatre or in his private life with his divided family. 
A well-remembered and impressive drama serial set in the world of medicine. 
 
Edgar Pascoe is a highly successful and charismatic cardiac surgeon. Pre-eminent in his field, he is the embodiment of the upper echelons of medicine: urbane, assured, supremely confident in his own abilities. But he is not infallible - either in the operating theatre or in his private life with his divided family. 
A well-remembered and impressive drama serial set in the world of medicine. 
 
Edgar Pascoe is a highly successful and charismatic cardiac surgeon. Pre-eminent in his field, he is the embodiment of the upper echelons of medicine: urbane, assured, supremely confident in his own abilities. But he is not infallible - either in the operating theatre or in his private life with his divided family. 
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A well-remembered and much loved one-off drama from the 'Screen One' strand. 

Nick, a Greek Cypriot living in London, hits on the idea of marriage to raise some cash - the bride, according to custom, coming complete with dowry. He is forced to enlist the help of a childhood adversary, Maria. Soon realising she is giving him the runaround, Nick retaliates by wooing her. 

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What would happen if you could clone yourself? Two ordinary friends decide to try this with a new machine at work.Thinking this experiment has not worked the friends go home dejected.But further events prevail and a serious dose of mistaken identity ensues. Can the imposters be caught? 

 

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This is the wonderfully funny television adaptation of the stage play by David Lodge about a creative writing course set in the wilds, the writers teaching that course, and the comedy of manners in which the students are involved. 

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One of the most influential plays of it's generation, here presented in a BBC studio production, here presented in its original transmission form of 3 x 30 minute episodes (90 minutes running time in all). 

A Taste of Honey is set in Salford in North West England in the 1950s. It tells the story of Jo, a seventeen-year-old working class girl, and her mother, Helen, who is presented as crude and sexually indiscriminate. Helen leaves Jo alone in their new flat after she begins a relationship with Peter, a rich lover who is younger than her. At the same time Jo begins a romantic relationship with Jimmy, a black sailor. He proposes marriage but then goes to sea, leaving Jo pregnant and alone. She finds lodgings with a homosexual acquaintance, Geoffrey, who assumes the role of surrogate father. Helen returns after leaving her lover and the future of Jo's new home is put into question

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A fondly-remembered television one-off drama. 

Twenty year-old student Peter Fraiman falls asleep in 1975 a happy man, having asked his girlfriend to marry him. But when he wakes up it's 1995 he has a wife he doesn't recognise and two children. Unable to remember anything of the intervening twenty years, he feels he has jumped forwards in time. He goes in search of his former girlfriend and is forced to face the fact that he has become a person he never expected to be. 

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A young boy discovers the existence of a group called the Mooncussers - a gang of pirates that work at night and sends out false homing signals to ships at sea; the ships then crash on the shore, where they are looted by the gang.


 

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Adaptation of Russell Hoban's novel about two mechanical toy mice, and their quest to become "self-winding".

 

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