1 9 8 3 – 1 9 8 9 (UK)
90 x 30 minute episodes
An anthology series of short plays that aimed surprisingly dark tales at a young audience and frequently featured supernatural or science fiction elements.
Dramarama was created by Anna Home, the head of children’s and youth programming at TVS. The dramas themselves were produced by a total of twelve ITV regional companies. Thus, each episode was, in practice, a one-off production with its own cast and crew, up to and including the executive producer.
Highlights included “The Keeper” (1983) by Alan Garner, “Back to Front” (1989) by Anthony Horowitz, and James Graham’s “The Secret of Croftmore” (1988), which marked the television debut of a young actor called David Tennant. In fact, the series boasted a range of previous Doctor Who’s, from Tennant and Peter Capaldi to Patrick Troughton and Sylvester McCoy.
The list of actors who worked in Dramarama reads like a casting directory of British acting over the last 70 years, including Earl Cameron, Glenda Jackson, George Cole, Beatrix Lehmann, Peter Cook, Billie Whitelaw, Brian Cox, Sylvia Syms, Leonard Rossiter, Siân Phillips and Edward Woodward.
One play – Dodger, Bonzo and the Rest – was spun off into its own series. Blackbird Singing in the Dead of Night (1988) was developed into the long-running series Children’s Ward. The original Dramarama story was co-written by Paul Abbott and Kay Mellor – at the time, working as staff writers for Granada.
Mighty Mum and the Petnappers | Rip It Up | The Venchie | Jack and the Computer | Because I Say So | Bully for Cosmo | Messages | The Young Person’s Guide to Getting Their Ball Back | Sweet Revenge
Night of the Narrow Boats | Fowl Pest | Dodger, Bonzo and the Rest | Que Sera | Stalemate | Snoop! | Mr Stabs | Josephine Jo |The Purple People Eater | On Your Tod | The Old Firm: Two for Starters | Rachel and Rosie
Easy | The Coal Princess | Look at Me | The Young Person’s Guide to Going Backwards in the World | The Audition | The Universe Downstairs | A Proper Little Nooryeff | Frog | Private Eye | Emily | Silver | The Golden Conch | Purple Passion Video
The comeuppance of Captain Katt | A Couple of Charlies | Wayfarers | Play Acting | Last Days of Black Berts | Maureen Reid, Where Are You? | Flashback | Direct Action | Waiting for Elvis | Just a Game | Flyaway Friend | Pig Ignorance | Jessie’s Place | Frankie’s Hat
Cannondrum | Snap | The Horrible Story | My Friend Julie | The Creature Beyond Torches End | My Mum’s a Courgette | Brainwaves | Undertow of the Armada | Stan’s First Night | Living Doll | Tam | Peter | The Halt | A Spirited Performance | Badger on the Barge
Forever Young | The Macrame Man | The Wrong Button | Bubbles | Blackbird Singing in the Dead of Night | Big T for Trouble | Room for One More | Making Waves | Just a Normal Girl | Now You See Them | Bogeymen | The Alien | The Secret of Croftmore | The Bubblegum Brigade | Playing for Wales | Snap Decision
Codzmorf | Ghost Story | Badger | Back to Front | Monstrous | The Pisces Connection | Rosie the Great | Snakes & Loofahs | Just Wild About Harry | Mitchin’ | In the Pink