1 9 6 4 – 1 9 6 8 (UK)
115 x 70/90 minute episodes
This BBC2 anthology playhouse series first aired on 3 May 1964 – just a few weeks after the launch of BBC2 – and remained on the air until August 1968, airing on Monday evenings and producing some of the freshest and finest British television drama of the 1960s.
It specialised in adaptations and did some really marvellous things, including Unman, Wittering and Zigo, The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists; Kafka’s Amerika; Brecht’s Mahagonny; a new version of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four; the four-part Talking to a Stranger by John Hopkins; and 1968’s science-fiction allegory The Year of the Sex Olympics, by Nigel Kneale (pictured below).
The series was broadcast in black & white between 1964 and 1967, and in colour for its final year.
A veritable who’s-who of acting talent appeared in the 115 productions, including Judi Dench, Edward Woodward, Susannah York, Edward Fox, Susan George, Donald Sutherland, Kenneth More, Maurice Denham, Warren Mitchell, Ronnie Barker, Wendy Craig, John Le Mesurier, Michael Crawford, Bob Monkhouse, Irene Handl, Hattie Jacques, Bernard Cribbins, Pauline Collins, Gordon Jackson, Richard Briers, Ronald Lacey, Geoffrey Bayldon, Leonard Rossiter, Fenella Fielding, Annette Crosbie, Rosemary Leach, Alfie Bass, Mike Pratt, Ian Hendry, Bernard Bresslaw, Dennis Waterman, Patrick Stewart, Joss Ackland, Milo O’Shea, Michelle Dotrice, Hywel Bennett, Patrick Magee, Bernard Hepton, Nerys Hughes, Charlotte Rampling, Margaret Nolan, Windsor Davies, June Barry, Yootha Joyce, Peggy Ashcroft, Fulton Mackay, Jack Wild, Erik Chitty, Bryan Pringle, Ronald Fraser, Moira Lister, Diana Coupland, Keith Michell, Tony Selby, Anthony Booth, Miriam Margolyes, Tessa Wyatt, Doris Hare, Colin Jeavons, Ed Bishop and Victor Maddern.
The title referred to the broadcasts being in the higher-definition 625-line format, which only BBC2 used at the time.