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One of the Earliest Surviving British Television Dramas (December 12 – December 14, 1954)


From December 12-14, 1954 the BBC presented a television production of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, adapted for television by Nigel  Kneale.

"Kneale's script was a largely faithful adaptation of the novel as far as was practical with the limitations of the medium. The writer did, however, make some small additions of his own, the most notable being the creation of a sequence in which O'Brien observes Julia at work in PornoSec, and reads a small segment from one of the erotic novels being written by the machines there."

"When it had become clear what an important production Nineteen Eighty-Four was, it was arranged for the second performance [December 14, 1954] to be telerecorded onto 35mm film – the first performance having simply disappeared off into the ether, as it was shown live, seen only by those who were watching on the Sunday evening. At this stage, Videotape recording was still at the development stage and television images could only be preserved on film by using a special recording apparatus (known as "telerecording" in the UK and "kinescoping" in the USA), but was only used sparingly, then in Britain for historic preservation reasons and not for pre-recording. It is thus the second performance that survives in the archives, one of the earliest surviving British television dramas" (Wikipedia article on Nineteen Eight-Four (TV Programme), accessed 07-26-2009).