The Pickwick Papers – this time the Television adaptation

After the excellent 1952 film version, we had in 1955 on ITV – in the Theatre Royal series of 34 plays – a play entitled ‘Bardell v Pickwick’

This wasn’t exactly The Pickwick Papers but an episode from it.

This was the first production in the Theatre Royal series going out on 25 th September 1955 – probably going out ‘live’ in those days.

It featured Roddy Hughes as Mr Pickwick and Donald Wolfit as Sergeant Buzfuz.

Sam Kidd reprised the role of Sam Weller

Television dramatisation of an episode from Charles Dickens’ “Pickwick Papers”, in which Mr Pickwick is taken to court by his landlady Mrs Bardell. She accuses him of breach of promise after she believed he was offering her a proposal of marriage when he had been talking about getting a manservant.

ABOVE – It seems that in this scene Donald Wolfit is strongly making a point

The amusing law courts scene from the famous masterpiece was one of the highlights of this production

This television play was produced by Harry Alan Towers – Harry Towers who later moved into making feature films – two of the first he did – and filmed in Africa both starred Richard Todd in ‘Death Drums Along the River’ and a follow up ‘Coast of Skeletons’

In fact would you believe it, Harry Towers later produced this same story ‘Bardell v Pickwick’ under the same name in 1959 in the Armchair Theatre Series – this time John Salew played Mr Pickwick

Now back to an actor featured above –

Sir Donald Wolfit was without doubt one of the greatest Shakespearean actors of the last century. He was not appreciated by the likes of the pompous Laurence Olivier and his contemporaries, mainly because, in my view, Sir Donald came from a working class background and scaled those dizzy heights like no other had done.

He was the last of the Actor-Managers who brought Shakespeare to the masses – and saw that as his mission – all over the world

ABOVE – Sir Donald Wolfit , Lady Wolfit and their daughter

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