British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access

Screen Plays: The Theatre Plays on British Television Database

Screen Plays documents British television productions of plays that were originally written for the theatre. Most of these productions were made especially for television, but a significant number were originally theatre productions (some of which were broadcast from the theatre and some transferred to the studio).

In its current ’soft launch’ version, Screen Plays features television productions of theatre plays from television’s first thirty years, from 1936 to 1965. This is the period when over two-thirds of the 3,000+ televised theatre plays were transmitted on BBC and ITV. There is also a selection of later records to which we will add over the coming months. The resource will embrace all productions to date by summer 2016.


Marigold (1936), “the first play transmitted by electronic television”

Screen Plays also offers information on the audiovisual and print sources that are known to exist for each of these productions: these include archival production files, contemporary newspaper reviews, scholarly writings, practitioners’ autobiographies and the recordings themselves (both those existing only in archives and those available commercially). The aim is both to be transparent about the sources used and also to encourage further work in this area.

We welcome all additions, corrections and suggestions for improvement; please e-mail

  • Read more about the methodology lying behind the collection of data.
  • See the guidelines on how to make the most of the search facility.

This resource is one of the major outputs of the AHRC-funded research project Screen Plays: Theatre Plays on British Television, which was based at the University of Westminster from 2011 to 2015. The Principal Investigator on the project was John Wyver and the Research Fellow was Amanda Wrigley.