BBC Sunday-Night Theatre: Season 5, Episode 50

Nineteen Eighty-Four (12 Dec. 1954)

TV Episode  |   |  Drama
7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 366 users  
Reviews: 12 user | 1 critic

A man who works for 'The Party' (an all powerful empire led by a man known only as 'Big Brother') begins to have thoughts of rebellion and love for a fellow member. Together they look to help bring down the party.

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(novel), (adapted as a television play by), 1 more credit »
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Cast

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
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Storyline

A man who works for 'The Party' (an all powerful empire led by a man known only as 'Big Brother') begins to have thoughts of rebellion and love for a fellow member. Together they look to help bring down the party.

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Drama

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Release Date:

12 December 1954 (UK)  »

Box Office

Budget:

£3,249 (estimated)
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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Winston Smith: The rats had... Oh, God!
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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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