First Night (TV series)

First Night was a BBC 1 series of contemporary television dramas by new writers, which ran from September 1963 to May 1964 and was the forerunner of The Wednesday Play. The series was produced by James MacTaggart.[1][2][3]


  1. Lez Cooke, Troy Kennedy Martin, 1847794742- 2013, p. 68: "Later that year [Roger] Smith was the story editor on First Night (BBC 1, September 1963–May 1964), a series of contemporary dramas by new writers, produced by James MacTaggart, which was the forerunner of The Wednesday Play."
  2. Janet Thumim, Inventing Television Culture: Men, Women, and the Box, 2004, p. 134, 0198742231 (BBC, 1960–3) offering "new writing especially for television", Festival (BBC, 1963–4), "dramatic plays to entertain the intelligent viewer", and First Night (BBC, 1963–4) "written expressly for television with the emphasis on action and conflict". Armchair Theatre (ABC, 1956–69), according to Tise Vahimagi, "represented ITV's golden age of writing and production", and The Wednesday Play (BBC, 1964–70) "became a byword for challenging, left-of-centre drama".
  3. Lez Cooke, British Television Drama: A History, 2015, p. 71, 1844578968 "Festival, under Peter Luke, who went with him to the BBC as a producer, was to do the more classical pieces, ancient and modern: plays by Noel Coward, Cocteau, James Joyce, Ionesco, etc. were included in the first 1963–64 season. First Night, produced by John Elliot, was to concentrate on the new writers and was to go out on Sunday night in opposition to Armchair Theatre."
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