Bar Mitzvah Boy

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This article is about the television play. For the musical, see Bar Mitzvah Boy (musical).

Bar Mitzvah Boy is a British television play, written by Jack Rosenthal and originally transmitted in the Play for Today anthology series on BBC1. Broadcast on 14 September 1976, the 75-minute production was directed by Michael Tuchner and produced by Graeme MacDonald.

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Starring Jeremy Steyn, Kim Clifford, Mark Herman, Adrienne Posta, Maria Charles and Bernard Spear, the play tells the story of a young Jewish boy, Eliott Green (Steyn), in a working class family living in North East London of the 1970s, and the apprehensions the boy feels over his forthcoming Bar Mitzvah. Meanwhile, the family prepares for the celebration, preoccupied with their own preparations for the b'nai mitzvah.

Programme notes for a Boston Jewish Film Festival screening in 2004 hailed the play as "a BBC classic... this bittersweet comedy about a British boy’s upcoming Bar Mitzvah features a strong sense of time and place [and] stellar acting", while the British Film Institute's website describes it as "a simple tale made memorable by genius writing and sympathetic performances."[1][2]

In 1977 Bar Mitzvah Boy won the British Academy Television Award for 'Best Single Play', and in 2000 it was placed 56th in a BFI poll of the 100 Greatest British Television Programmes of the 20th century, voted on by industry professionals. The play is available on DVD with Rosenthal's other BBC work.

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