1 9 5 5 – 1 9 7 4 (UK)
610 x 90 minute episodes
For the first ten years of ITV, there was always a single play to be found in the top British programmes of the year. The shows had titles like TV Playhouse, Theatre Royal, Fireside Theatre, Armchair Theatre and Play Of The Week.
In 1962, at least three ITV-produced drama’s appeared each week.
One of the most controversial was When The Kissing Had To Stop, about a left-wing government elected in Britain and the takeover by a Communist superpower. It caused a political storm for what was interpreted as an anti-Labour stance when it aired in October 1962.
On 28 November of the same year, ITV really went overboard when they screened Electra by Sophocles – performed in the original Greek!
Among the cavalcade of actors who appeared in the hundreds of plays were Laurence Olivier, Peter O’Toole, Michael Caine, Deborah Kerr, Oliver Reed, Sean Connery, Anthony Quinn, Vivien Leigh, Julie Christie, John Hurt, Richard Harris, Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Donald Sutherland, John Gielgud, Stanley Baker, Susannah York, Anthony Quayle, Robert Helpmann, Alfred Burke, Peter Wyngarde, Denholm Elliott, Patrick McGoohan, Edward Woodward, Diana Rigg, Ronnie Barker, Michael Hordern, Wilfrid Brambell, Patrick Wymark, Jane Asher, Benny Hill, Dandy Nichols and Cliff Richard.