British Universities Film & Video Council

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Caesar’s Friend

Summary
1939 BBC studio production of Caesar’s Friend, Campbell Dixon and Dermot Morrah’s re-telling of the story of Pontius Pilate.
Theatre play
Caesar’s Friend by Campbell Dixon and Dermot Morrah [more information]
Date of transmission
Sunday 2 April 1939
Time
9.05-10.35pm
Channel
BBC Television
Production company
BBC

Credits

Producer
George More O’Ferrall (1907-1982)
Playwright
Campbell Dixon
Playwright
Dermot Morrah
Cast
Robert Atkins (1886-1972)Caiaphas
Eileen BennettMarcella
D. A. Clarke-SmithPontius Pilate
Joan Clement-ScottZillah
Aubrey DexterBalbus
Lionel DixonDamon
Donald FergussonFirst Dercurion
Michael Martin HarveyGamaliel
Peter HenschelMalchus
Eugene LeahyPeter
Elspeth MarchMary,a woman of Magdala
Brian OultonJoseph of Arimathea
Mary O’FarrellClaudia Procula
Billy ShineSentry
Abraham SofaerAnnas
Desmond TesterLucius
Alan WheatleyJudas

Additional details

Origination
Live from studio
Vision original
Monochrome
Notes
In both the original Westminster Theatre production and in its transfer to the Piccadilly in 1933, D. A. Clarke-Smith played Pontius Pilate and Mary O’Farrell took the role of Claudia Procula. The producer of this television version played Lucius Licinius Cotta in the West End transfer.
Extant status
No archival copy is known to exist.
Play tags
ancient Rome and colonies; biblical stories; Christianity; religion, as theme or subject

Print sources

Title
Radio Times, 25 April 1947 (Magazine)
Linking notes
article by ‘The Scanner’, p. 5
Title
Radio Times, 31 March 1939 (Magazine)
Linking notes
listing, p. 14
Title
Televised Drama: Caesar’s Friend (Newspaper review)
Author/creator
Anon. (Author)
Reference
The Times, 6 April 1939, p. 10
Notes
'The more conversational passages [...] showed that the new medium may permit of a greater subtlety both of tone and of facial expression than the stage; [...] The trial scene, on the other hand, showed some of the limitations of television in its present state. The field of view of the cameras was awkwardly narrow.'

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