The Granville Melodramas

1955 | United Kingdom

Popular fortnightly series resurrecting stage melodramas of the 19th century such as East Lynne and The Poor of New York. Hattie Jacques appeared in all seven episodes and her (then) husband John Le Mesurier also appeared. Peter Tuddenham who provided the voices of Zen and Orac on Blakes 7 made his small-screen debut and celebrated playwright Alun Owen had a bit part in one episode. The Granville Theatre in Fulham had previously seen performances by Victorian music hall stars the likes of Marie Lloyd, George Robey and Little Tich, but in recent years it had had its ups and downs. 

Bernard Delfont purchased the theatre in 1947 in the hope of a resurgence, after the war, of variety theatre. But it hadn't really happened. In 1955 Associated-Rediffusion acquired it as the first operational Independent Television studio. According to author Andy Merrimen in his book Hattie - The Authorised Biography of Hattie Jacques "The conversion of the Granville Theatre for use as a television studio was rather primitive, and apparently the stalls floor retained its incline, creating much difficulty for the technicians, who, on occasions would lose control of their cameras!" The Granville Theatre enjoyed 15 years of broadcasting and Opportunity Knocks was also broadcast from there. The theatre was demolished in 1971.

Published on December 19th, 2018. Written by Laurence Marcus for Television Heaven.