ITV Play of the Week

ITV Play of the Week is a 90-minute UK television anthology series produced by a variety of companies including Granada Television, Associated-Rediffusion, ATV and Anglia Television. From 1956 to 1966 approximately 500 episodes aired on ITV. The first production was Ten Minute Alibi, produced by Associated-Rediffusion on 14 May 1956[1] and the earliest to survive is There Was a Young Lady, transmitted on 23 July 1956.[2] The first production not to be transmitted live was Henrik Ibsen's The Wild Duck[3] which was recorded on film. The first to be pre-recorded on videotape was Mary Broome, a Granada production broadcast on 3 September 1958.[4] Subsequently, only one play was transmitted live, Associated-Rediffusion's Search Party on 26 July 1960.[5] The master tape of The Liberty Man, a Granada production broadcast on 1 October 1958, contains the original advertisements during the first commercial break.[6] The Violent Years was networked from Anglia on its opening night, 27 October 1959, and exists at the University of East Anglia.[7]

Other productions included:

Among its directors were Tony Richardson, Peter Wood, Peter Brook, Vivian Matalon, and Desmond Davis.

Notable guest stars included Sean Connery, Michael Caine, Peter O'Toole, Laurence Olivier, Vivian Leigh, Maggie Smith, Julie Christie, Alan Bates, Judi Dench, Deborah Kerr, Paul Scofield, Laurence Harvey, Glenda Jackson, Susannah York, Leslie Caron, Richard Harris, Edith Evans, James Mason, Claire Bloom, David McCallum, Donald Sutherland, John Gielgud, Oliver Reed, Mel Ferrer, Diana Rigg and Margaret Whiting.


  1. The Kaleidoscope British Independent Television Drama Research Guide, 1955-2010, page 2652
  2. Ibid, page 2652
  3. Ibid, page 2654
  4. Ibid, page 2660
  5. Ibid, page 2670
  6. Ibid, page 2661
  7. Ibid, page 2666
  8. Ibid, page 2653
  9. Ibid, page 2656
  10. Ibid, page 2657
  11. Ibid, page 2658
  12. Ibid, page 2661
  13. Ibid, page 2663
  14. Ibid, page 2667
  15. Ibid, page 2668
  16. Ibid, page 2668
  17. Ibid, page 2674
  18. Ibid, page 2678
  19. Ibid, page 2684
  20. Ibid, page 2689
  21. Ibid, page 2677
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