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We should lament the passing of The Wednesday Play and 1970s television drama. It is not TV culture that is to blame for our wasteland; it is the whole culture

By David Herman   October 2004

30th September is the 40th anniversary of The Wednesday Play, one of the great achievements of British television: 172 plays shown over six years by authors like Dennis Potter, David Mercer and Michael Frayn, Simon Gray, Alan Plater and Johnny Speight. Among the directors were John Schlesinger and Jack Gold, Peter Watkins, John Mackenzie and Ken Loach.

Forty years on, not only have we nothing to match it, we can’t even work out what happened to it. In a recent documentary, The Truth About Sixties TV (BBC4), Mark Lawson suggested that the golden age of television drama was a product…

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