Casanova (BBC-2 1971, Frank Finlay, Zienia Merton)

Period drama serial Casanova was an eyebrow raising version of the life of the 18th Century lover who died aged 73 (from exhaustion presumably). The show was subsequently reedited for a 4×75 minutes reshowing the following year.

The serial stirred up a huge amount of controversy thanks to its frank portrayal of sex, but can seen as something of a continuation of the controversy that had been dogging Dennis Potter for some time, especially the previous years Son of Man which showed Jesus as a solid, ordinary, working man and Angels Are So Few which featured more sexual imagery. In Casanova Frank Finlay is the ageing lotario looking back on his life whilst languishing in a prison cell.

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This was Potter’s first extended work and the serial format really allows him to stretch out and start to develop his style.

Cast: FRANK FINLAY as Giovanni Casanova; NORMAN ROSSINGTON as Lorenzo; ZIENIA MERTON as Christina; CHRISTINE NOONAN as Barbarina; PATRICK NEWELL as Carlo; GEOFFREY WINCOTT as Senator Bragadin; RONALD ADAM as Senior Inquisitor

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Writer: Dennis Potter / Script Editor: Shaun MacLoughlin / Music: John Burrows / Production Design: Peter Seddon / Producer: Mark Shivas / Directors: John Glenister, Mark Cullingham

UK / BBC Two / 6 episodes with various durations between 49 and 57 minutes / Broadcast 16 November – 21 December 1971

1. STEED IN THE STABLE (16 Nov 71)
2. ONE AT A TIME (23 Nov 71)
3. MAGIC MOMENTS (30 Nov 71)
4. WINDOW, WINDOW (7 Dec 71)
5. FEVERS OF LOVE (14 Dec 71)
6. GOLDEN APPLES (21 Dec 71)

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.