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Jackanory Playhouse

1 9 7 2 – 1 9 8 5 (UK)
65 x 30 minute episodes

Jackanory Playhouse was a halfway-house approach between the talking head storytelling of Jackanory and the expense and logistical undertaking of a full-scale drama production.

Productions were made almost exclusively in the studio in as few takes as possible, against scaled-down theatre-style settings. A handful of actors, a plain diorama backing, a  couple of castle walls, basic props and some stock costumes from the wardrobe department were all that was required for a Playhouse.

The series rarely used original scripts, with the first adventure of Helen Cresswell’s Lizzie Dripping being among its few innovations. The majority of stories were quickly adapted from well-known fairy stories and folk tales – including The Long-Nosed Princess (1973), Dick Whittington (1974), The Sleeping Princess (1976), The Emperor’s Nightingale (1976) and The Princess Who Couldn’t Laugh (1978).

Episodes were often used as filler and frequently appeared in Christmas schedules.