May 3, 1964: Theatre 625 debuts on BBC2

Theatre 625 is a British television drama anthology series, produced by the BBC and transmitted on BBC2 from 1964 to 1968. It was one of the first regular programmes in the line-up of the channel, and the title referred to its production and transmission being in the higher-definition 625-line format, which only BBC2 used at the time.

Overall, about 110 plays were produced with a duration of usually between 75 and 90 minutes during the series’ four-year run, and for its final year from 1967 the series was produced in colour, BBC2 being the first channel in Europe to convert from black and white. Some of the best-known productions made for the series include a new version of Nigel Kneale‘s 1954 adaptation of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four (1965); the four-part Talking to a Stranger by John Hopkins (1966) which told the same story from four different viewpoints, and features Judi Dench; and 1968’s science-fiction allegory The Year of the Sex Olympics, again by Kneale.

As with much British television output of the 1960s, many editions of Theatre 625 no longer exist. Some episodes, previously thought lost, were discovered in Washington D.C. in 2010. These recoveries included the remake of 1984.

The first play was “The Seekers: The Heretics”.  Among the cast was a 30 year old Timothy West.  Other actors who appeared in Theatre 625 productions included Patrick Allen, Geoffrey Bayldon, Ronald Lacey, Michael Gough, Edward Fox, Simon Ward, Nicholas Courtney, Ian Ogilvy, Yootha Joyce, Dennis Waterman, Annette Crosbie, Ronnie Barker, Bernard Cribbins… [Wikipedia]


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