BBC Sunday-Night Theatre: Season 5, Episode 50

Nineteen Eighty-Four (12 Dec. 1954)

TV Episode  |   |  Drama
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 370 users  
Reviews: 13 user | 1 critic

George Orwell's novel of a totalitarian future society in which a man whose daily work is rewriting history tries to rebel by falling in love.



(novel), (adapted as a television play by), 1 more credit »
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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Yvonne Mitchell ...
Arnold Diamond ...
Campbell Gray ...
Hilda Fenemore ...
Pamela Grant ...
Keith Davis ...
Janet Barrow ...
Woman Supervisor
Norman Osborne ...
First Youth
Tony Lyons ...
Second Youth
Malcolm Knight ...
Third Youth
John Baker ...
First Man
Victor Platt ...
Second Man


George Orwell's novel of a totalitarian future society in which a man whose daily work is rewriting history tries to rebel by falling in love.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

12 December 1954 (UK)  »

Box Office


£3,249 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Following remarks by the Duke of Edinburgh that he and the Queen had "thoroughly enjoyed" the broadcast, the live repeat, four days later, attracted the largest television audience since the Coronation. See more »


In the canteen, after Winston has said goodbye to Syme, the camera settles back on him and moves forward, bumping into the dining table in the process. See more »


Winston Smith: The rats had... Oh, God!
See more »


Version of 1984 (1956) See more »

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User Reviews

The Telescreen delivers the goods.
13 June 2003 | by (Cyberia) – See all my reviews

This version seems to be at least as good as the Burton one from the 1980's, which was made at much greater expense. TV movies have the room to be experimental, when they want to be. The cheap sets and black-and-white photography actually contribute to the effect, although the countryside scenes of course suffer. The actors deliver their lines with conviction, natural enough since they were closer in time to Orwell, Stalin, McCarthy and the rest.

One problem is that some of the best lines are delivered far too quickly, presumably because this was a live-on-air performance. Julia's final lines should be muttered in a halting voice, not rattled off as here.

The ratings of the various versions are 1. 1954 (Cushing) 2. 1984 (Burton) 3.1956 (which was suppressed by Orwell's estate, it was so bad). Brazil (1985) is better than any of these, because it was designed for cinema; and Orwell's novel is better than all of them.

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