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Saturday Night Theatre (ITV 1969-1971, Sean Connery, Stanley Baker)

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Saturday Night Theatre was an anthology series with no real defining factor other than that the productions were all first broadcast on Saturday evening in a primetime slot.

Most of the ITV regional companies contributed and the productions were usually 50 minutes long to fit into an hour long broadcast slot.

Lots of well known talent appeared in front of and behind the camera including, in a trilogy (seen over consecutive weeks) by Alun Owen, Sean Connery and Michael Caine (the trilogy also had the kudos of being introduced by Laurence Olivier). Overseas the trilogy tended to be broadcast as a feature length drama under the title of The Male of the Species. Over the course of the two year run scripts were also contributed by the likes of Colin Welland, Julia Jones, Simon Gray, Dennis Potter (who contributed his proto Pennies From Heaven play Moonlight on the Highway and Lay Down Your Arms), Ian Curteis, Jim Allen, Douglas Livingstone, Johnny Speight and Ray Jenkins. Most of the productions were also TV originals although there was the odd theatre adaptation including Twelfth Night and a version of J.B. Priestley’s Dangerous Corner. John Stride and Honor Blackman in Visit From A Stranger.

Obviously the plays also offered up roles to pretty much the cream of TV actors including a pre-fame Anthony Hopkins in A Walk Through The Forest, Ray Smith, Terence Rigby, Del Henry, Katharine Blake, Paul Scofield, Dandy Nichols, Bill Owen, Frank Finlay, Leonard Rossiter, Colin Blakely, Reg Varney, Ian Holm, Diana Rigg, Anthony Bate, Patricia Routledge, John Thaw, Ron Moody, Robert Powell, George Cole, Daniel Massey and Thora Hird to name just a very few.

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Occasionally there would be a series of themed productions too including the already mentioned Male of the Species trilogy but there was also the six winners of The Observer Play Competition which went out as three double bills. There were also six productions that went out under the sub-banner of Wicked Women (all focused on true life cases of women who had been tried for murder.)

Around mid 1970 many of the ITV regions broadcast the plays on Sunday nights instead under the title Sunday Night Theatre. By 21 February 1971 the series was officially broadcasting under the Sunday Night Theatre banner where it ran until 1974.

production details
UK / ITV / 86 episodes either 50 minutes or 25 minutes / Broadcast 11 January 1969 – 2 January 1971

THE EPISODES
1. PARK PEOPLE (11 Jan 1969)
2. BANGELSTEIN’S BOYS (18 Jan 1969)
3. MY BONNIE JEAN (25 Jan 1969)
4. MacNEIL (1 Feb 1969)
5. CORNELIUS (8 Feb 1969)
6. EMLYN (15 Feb 1969)
7. TIGER TRAP (22 Feb 1969)
8. AN HOUR OF LOVE: THE BIND (1 Mar 1969)
9. AN HOUR OF LOVE: ANATOMY OF A DIVORCE (1 Mar 1969)
10. THE PIANO TUNER (8 Mar 1969)
11. PIG IN A POKE (15 Mar 1969)
12. MACHINE (22 Mar 1969)
13. THE BEST PAIR OF LEGS IN THE BUSINESS (29 Mar 1969)
14. THE DIRT ON LUCY LANE (5 Apr 1969)
15. MOONLIGHT ON THE HIGHWAY (12 Apr 1969)
16. HAZEL AND HER NEW GAS COOKER (19 Apr 1969)
17. STEVE (26 Apr 1969)
18. TOYS (3 May 1969)
19. THE INNOCENT CEREMONY (21 Jun 1969)
20. THE HAUNTING (28 Jun 1969)
21. A MEASURE OF MALICE (5 Jul 1969)
22. BETTER DEAD (12 Jul 1969)
23. THE OBSERVER TV PLAY COMP: EVERY DAY OF THE LIFE, MAN (19 Jul 1969)
24. THE OBSERVER TV PLAY COMP: SALVE REGINA (19 Jul 1969)
25. THE OBSERVER TV PLAY COMP: TAKEOVER (26 Jul 1969)
26. THE OBSERVER TV PLAY COMP: TWO HUNDRED MILES BY ELECTRIC TRAIN (26 Jul 1969)
27. THE OBSERVER TV PLAY COMP: THE FUNERAL OF H.M. QUEEN VICTORIA (2 Aug 1969)
28. THE OBSERVER TV PLAY COMP: THE GARBLER STRATEGY (2 Aug 1969)
29. TRAVELLING WHERE (9 Aug 1969)
30. TWO FEET OFF THE GROUND (16 Aug 1969)
31. FLY AWAY HOME (23 Aug 1969)
32. THE TALKING HEAD (30 Aug 1969)
33. DIDDLED (6 Sep 1969)
34. THAT WOMAN IS WRECKING OUR MARRIAGE (20 Sep 1969)
35. A WALK THROUGH THE FOREST (27 Sep 1969)
36. THE UNDOING (4 Oct 1969)
37. IN ANOTHER COUNTRY (11 Oct 1969)
38. STABLES THEATRE COMPANY: IT’S CALLED SUGAR PLUM (1 Nov 1969)
39. HESTER LILLY (8 Nov 1969)
40. AREN’T WE ALL (15 Nov 1969)
41. THE FULL CHEDDAR (22 Nov 1969)
42. THE COMIC (29 Nov 1969)
43. FAITH AND HENRY (6 Dec 1969)
44. NORA (13 Dec 1969)
45. IT CALLS FOR A GREAT DEAL OF LOVE (20 Dec 1969)
46. SUFFER LITTLE CHILDREN (3 Jan 1970)
47. ANNIVERSARY (10 Jan 1970)
48. A DOLL’S HOUSE (17 Jan 1970)
49. MRS. MOUSE, ARE YOU WITHIN? (24 Jan 1970)
50. THE PRETENDERS (31 Jan 1970)
51. WOLLY WENPOL, THE COMPLETE WORKS (7 Feb 1970)
52. WICKED WOMEN: ALICE RHODES (14 Feb 1970)
53. WICKED WOMEN: CHRISTIAN EDMUNDS (21 Feb 1970)
54. WICKED WOMEN: AUGUSTA FULHAM (28 Feb 1970)
55. WICKED WOMEN: ANNE-MARIA MOODY (7 Mar 1970)
56. WICKED WOMEN: FLORENCE MAYBRICK (14 Mar 1970)
57. WICKED WOMEN: MEDELEINE JULY (21 Mar 1970)
58. THE MASTER AND THE MASK (28 Mar 1970)
59. THE CORK MOUSTACHE (4 Apr 1970)
60. FADE OUT (11 Apr 1970)
61. THE ROCOCO BUSH (18 Apr 1970)
62. DANGEROUS CORNER (2 May 1970)
63. THE FAMILY IS A VICIOUS CIRCLE (9 May 1970)
64. WHEN JOHNNY COMES MARCHING HOME (16 May 1970)
65. LAY DOWN YOUR ARMS (23 May 1970)
66. YOU SEE THE THING IS… (30 May 1970)
67. THE SALESMAN (30 May 1970)
68. MARRIED ALIVE (6 Jun 1970)
69. PLAYING WITH FIRE (13 Jun 1970)
70. SLATTERY’S MOUNTED FOOT (20 Jun 1970)
71. HANDS WITH THE MAGIC TOUCH (27 Jun 1970)
72. STABLES THEATRE COMPANY: THE GINGHAM DOG (4 Jul 1970)
73. TWELFTH NIGHT (11 Jul 1970)
74. SKYSCRAPERS (18 Jul 1970)
75. THE INSIDER (25 Jul 1970)
76. STABLES THEATRE COMPANY: DEAR JANET ROSENBERG… DEAR MR. KOONING (1 Aug 1970)
77. ACT OF SEPARATION (8 Aug 1970)
78. HONOUR AND OFFER (15 Aug 1970)
79. HODINOTT VELLING (22 Aug 1970)
80. THE EXILES: JENNIE (10 Oct 1970)
81. THE EXILES: EMMA (17 Oct 1970)
82. THE EXILES: ZO (24 Oct 1970)
83. VISIT FROM A STRANGER (31 Oct 1970)
84. ROLL ON FOUR O’CLOCK (19 Dec 1970)
85. THE POLICEMAN AND THE COOK (26 Dec 1970)
86. THE DEAD (2 Jan 1971)

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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.

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