Anna Karenina (BBC 1961, Sean Connery, Claire Bloom)

A production of Anna Karenina from the BBC’s golden age and starring a pre James Bond Sean Connery and the amazing Claire Bloom.

Originally broadcast on 3 November 1961 Anna Karenina is based on one of Tolstoy’s best loved novels, set in Russia in the 1870’s it tells the story of the married Anna (Bloom) who, whilst attempting to save the marriage of her brother after he has an affair, meets and falls in love with dashing count Alexis Vronsky and gets swept up in an affair of her own, an affair which is destined to end in tragedy.

Adapted with great panache by actor/writer Donald Bull this production might be in black and white but lets face it everything was when this was made. It has a quality sheen though, thanks in no small part to producer Rudolph Cartier, a hugely important figure in the early days of British TV, he was the man who brought Nigel Kneale’s Quatermass to the screen.

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production details
UK / BBC / 1×104 minute episodes / Broadcast 3 November 1961

Writer: Donald Bull / Translation: E. J. King / Novel:Leo Tolstoy / Producer: Rudolph Cartier

Sean Connery as Vronksy
Jack Watling as Stiva
Valeria Taylor as Countess Vronsky
Claire Bloom as Anna
Gertan Klauber as Station Master
Daphne Anderson as Dolly
Graham Leaman as Matvey
June Thorburn as Kitty
Frank Williams as Korsunsky
Albert Lieven as Karenin
John Barratt as Cord
Alan Tilvern as Makhotin
Patricia Laffan as Betsy
Campbell Cotts as Grand Duke
Elaine Inescourt as Lydia
Alice Esmie-Bell as Miagki
Arthur Ridley as Korney
Derek Aylward as Serpoukhovskoi
Laurie Leigh as Annoushka
David Lander as Yashvir
Robert Percival as Prince Tverskey
Elaine Laniado as First Lady
Joy Skelton as Second Lady
Peter Augustine as Opera Attendant
Bobby Caetano as Sergei
Enid Lindsey as Old Nurse
Frances Cohen as Tania
Endré Muller as Priest
Peter Rutter as Server
Sydney Vivian as Misha

Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.