Theatre on Television. Again.

TV Well now, what's this? BBC to demonstrate renewed commitment to prime time Arts programming and partnerships. Given the riches which have turned up on the iPlayer and BBC Arts website lately, I think it's going swell but let's see what this means in terms of the thing I'm otherwise most interested in, theatre:
"Later in the year, there will be new seasons on Poetry and Theatre. The Theatre festival includes Ian McKellen and Anthony Hopkins starring in a new adaptation of the drama The Dresser on BBC Two and new drama strand Dialogues, bringing together exceptional writing and acting talent to BBC Four.

"In a new partnership with the Arts Council of England, we’ll be working with theatres and theatre companies to explore new ways of making and broadcasting theatre on the BBC.

"And across the English Regions, we will be following 11 local theatres over the next six months as they tackle an array of challenges - on stage and off."
Plans from the specific to the vague as ever. Might have been useful to mention that The Dresser has a playwright, Ronald Harwood, and that it's not some random choice, The Dresser is about a touring theatre company. Oh and there's already a film version with a screenplay written by Harwood himself, so this isn't like plucking Sir Thomas More off the shelf and doing a version of that.  As ever, then, this looks like a commitment to theatre within certain limits.

The poetry season (yes, again) is bags more interesting and also features some classical:
"The poetry season will include a profile of the Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy; a special on Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene; a drama adaptation of Simon Armitage’s long poem, Black Roses and Performance Poets In Their Own Words."
If all of this seems a touch mealy-mouthed, it looked with Malfi from the Globe like there was going to be a real transformation in the BBC's attitude to theatre.  But apart from some crumbs during Edinburgh nothing has changed that much. Drama on television is still new television work and literary adaptations. Anything filmed on a stage is an opera or ballet.  Far cry from the 70s when etc etc etc

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