One of Britain's greatest dramatists, the award-winning playwright Jack Rosenthal created some of the most critically-acclaimed and popular single plays of the last forty years. Instantly recognisable by their warmth and humour, Rosenthal's scripts were always popular with the viewing public and were invariably big ratings winners. Alongside single plays he also honed his craft on a diverse range of television shows - from Coronation Street (for which he was one of the key writers in the 1960s) to highly-acclaimed comedy and drama shows such as The Dustbinmen, London's Burning and The Lovers (all of which he also created). The contents of this set showcase the diversity and charm of Rosenthal's work, with many of these shows not seen since their original transmission.
This 5 disc commemorative set from Network contains a mixture of plays and episodes from TV series covering his career from the 60s to the 90s for ITV. The set has a total runniung time of 915 minutes and a recommended retail price of £39.99.
For those who don't want all the titles, a couple are now available (April 2010) as separate releases.
:: Disc 1
Another Sunday and Sweet F.A.: Directed by Michael Apted and starring David Swift, Another Sunday and Sweet F.A. is a biting comedy that exposes the brutal truth of gentleman's conduct and sporting behaviour in the beautiful game. Just how much needle can one amateur football match contain when two old rivals clash? The play was originally broadcast on ITV on the 9th January 1972 and produced by Peter Eckersley for Granada Television. This is also available as a separate release.
Ready When You Are, Mr. McGill: Directed by Mike Newell and starring Mark Wing-Davey and Joe Black, Ready When You Are, Mr McGill is an hilarious lok at the poursuit of fame and dissection of the movie industry. An extra finally gets his 'big break' - a speaking role in a wartime period piece. But with an unmotivated TV crew and mounting tension as things go wrong, it looks like Mr McGill's breakthrough has alluded him again. This play was originally broadcast on ITV on the 11th Janurary 1976 and produced by M Dunlop for Granada Television. This is also available as a separate release.
The Lovers: A cat and mouse comedy of relationships and power starring Paul Wilcox and Richard Beckinsale. This is the fourth episode and was written and produced by Jack Rosenthal with direction by Michael Apted. First broadcast on ITV on 17th November 1970, it was made by Granada Television.
Coronation Street – 16 October 1961: Rosenthal began his career working on the nation's favourtie soap. Swindley organises a trip to Blackpool and Ena gets left behind following her palm reading. This episode was first broadcast on ITV on th 16th October 1961.
Spaghetti Two-Step: An Italian restuarant: at each table sit groups of diners - couples, threesomes and parties supposedly spending a pleasant evening dining out and being served by Luigi, a cockney with a nice line in Italian patter. Spaghetti Two Step also stars John Bluthal and Connie Booth. This play was made by Yorkshire Television, directed by Peter Willes, and first broadcast on 18th January 1977.
:: Disc 2
Your Name’s Not God, It’s Edgar: Edgar is a railway carriage cleaner. His basic philosophy in life is that any evil thought or action results in injury to one's nearest and dearest. He has a pretty miserable existence. Edgar's philosophy of sex is that if you have any sexual thoughts or commit any sexual acts there will be repurcussions that will cause injury to those you hold nearest and dearest. Trevor the student aims to change his philosophy, in this drama starring Alfred Lynch, Richard Warwick, and Yootha Joyce. This play was directed by Michael Apted, produced for Torkshire Television and originally transmitted on the 9th December 1968.
Mrs. Thursday - You Don't Have to Book Buckingham Palace: A cockney housekeeper Alice Thursday inherits the estate she worked on - much to the annoyance of the deceased tycoon's four ex-wices! This was directed by Valerie Hanson for ATV limited and first broadcast on 3rd May 1966.
Village Hall – Mr. Ellis versus the People: It's Election Day in the village and the hall is turned into a polling station. First broadcast on the 16th July 1976, directed by Junue Howson and made for Granada Television.
About Face - Bag Lady: This critically acclaimed, half-hour play was part of the series About Face - a showcase series for Rosenthal's wife, Maureen Lipman. In this play, Lipman plays a down-and-out living on the streets of London. By turns, touching , poignant and extremely funny, Bag Lady is one of the highlights of the set. Originally broadcast 11th December 1989, the play was directed by John Henderson and made by Carlton Television.
:: Disc 3
Village Hall – There’ll Almost Always be an England: A gas leak forces the residents of Quigley Street to live in the hall. Directed by Quentin Lawrence, this was originally transmitted 30th July 1974 and made for Granada Television.
Pardon the Expression – The First Day: Will Swindley manage to last the day at his new job? Written by Jack Rosenthal and Harry Driver, and directed by Wally Butler, this was originally broadcast on 2nd June 1965. This series was made for Granada Television.
Pardon the Expression – The Headmistress: Mr Swindley tries his hand at super salemanship. Written by Jack Rosenthal and Harry Driver, and directed by Wally Butler, this was originally broadcast on 9th June 1965. This series was made for Granada Television.
The Dustbinmen: A skiving bin gang are on high alert when their new Inspector takes an interest. Directed by Michael Apted and orioginally transmitted 30th September 1968, the complete Granada series has been released on DVD by Network
:: Disc 4
London's Burning: A hugely-popular drama serial that chronicled the lives of those from Blue Watch, starring James Hazeldine, Mark Arden and Katherine Rogers. The watch are set off-balance when a female firefighter joins the team. Directed by Les Blair and originally transmitted 7th December 1986, this is an LWT production.
Bootsie and Snudge - Being Nice to Bootsie: This Army Game spin-off sees Bootsie chance his arm when he takes to his bed and won't leave it. Written by Jack Rosenthal and Harry Driver, and directed by Milo Lewis, this was originally broadcast on 14th February 1963. This series was made for Granada Television.
Moving Story: Young impressionable Asif's first day on the job as a 'furniture man' is one of enlightenment and discovery. Directed by Roger Bamford and originally transmitted 26th May 1996, this was made for Cartlon Television.
:: Disc 5
The Knowledge: Four men attempt to acquire "The Knowledge" and qualify as London taxi drivers. Taking on average two years to pass, only a select few ever succeed in this feat of mental agility. Starring Nigel Hawthorne, Mick ford, Michael Elphick and Maureen Lipman. The Knowledge was ranked 83rd in a list of the 100 Greatest Television Programmes by the BFI in 2000. This was directed by Bob Brooks and produced by Thames Television/Euston Films and Licensed by Fremantle Media Limited.