by Oliver Wake
Peter Luke was a writer, story editor and producer on several of British television’s most influential drama anthology series, working at both ITV and the BBC, during a period of particular creative development for the medium. His television work was, however, only one part of a varied life.
Peter Ambrose Cyprian Luke was born on 12 August 1919, the son of British diplomatic Sir Harry Luke. The Luke family was originally of Hungarian descent (the name Lukach being Anglicised to Luke) and Luke’s upbringing was cosmopolitan. In his younger years he accompanied his parents on his father’s postings around the world, during which he learned about language, culture, art and literature, before returning to England to be enrolled at Eton. On completing his schooling with the minimum of academic rigour, Luke decided he wanted to become a painter and went to art school in London and then studied at the atelier of André Lhote in Paris. He enlisted in the British army shortly after the Second World War began, leading him to Egypt and combat on the first day of the second battle of El Alamein, in which he was wounded. After recovering he was deployed in the European theatre of war, serving in Italy, France and Germany. He was awarded the Military Cross for his actions in Normandy following D-Day. He ended the war a Major, acting Lieutenant-Colonel. Read more... (3364 words, 1 image)
Posted in Biographies, Oliver Wake
Tagged Adaptation, Aristophanes, Armchair Theatre, Cathy Come Home, Clive Exton, David Turner, EM Forster, Frank O' Connor, George Foa, Handel, Hugh Whitemore, Irene Shubik, James MacTaggart, Jeremy Sandford, John Maynard, Luke and Anna Ambrose, Nemone Lethbridge, Noel Coward, Philip Saville, Play of the Month, Radio drama, Robert Muller, Rudolph Cartier, Shakespeare, Sydney Newman, The Wednesday Play, Theatre, TS Eliot, Waris Hussein
By Oliver Wake
Philip Saville is a director whose work on Play for Today cannot be easily categorised. The variety of his eight contributions is testament to the scope of both strand and director. Saville was an iconoclastic, innovative director, whose credits include many pioneering productions and notable television firsts.
Saville had a lengthy background in drama before moving into television directing. He had previously acted in theatre, film and television, and directed for the stage, on both sides of the Atlantic. Back in Britain, he joined ITV company Associated-Rediffusion in 1955, for whom he directed drama and contributed to Richard Lester comedy programmes. He continued to take occasional acting roles in film and television throughout this time, not stopping until the early 1960s. In 1956 he joined the drama department at ABC, another ITV company. He would ultimately direct more than forty plays for the company’s prestigious Armchair Theatre strand.
Although its innovation is largely credited to Sydney Newman, even before his arrival in 1958 those behind Armchair Theatre were attempting to breathe fresh life into television drama, creating a dynamic production style. Saville’s contemporary Ted Kotcheff recalled that from ‘the time that we came and started at Armchair Theatre, Philip Saville and myself and other directors wanted really to push against the limitations of the media, the way it was presently conceived’. Read more... (3404 words, 1 image)
Posted in Biographies, Oliver Wake
Tagged Adaptation, Alan Bleasdale, Armchair Theatre, Biographies, Charles Wood, Fay Weldon, Harold Pinter, Paddy Russell, Philip Saville, Play for Today, Prisoner and Escort, Shakespeare, Studio experimentation, Sydney Newman