Fable (TV play)

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Fable
Format Drama
Written by John Hopkins
Directed by Christopher Morahan
Starring Ronald Lacey,
Eileen Atkins,
Thomas Baptiste,
Barbara Assoon
Narrated by Keith Barron
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
Production
Producer(s) James MacTaggart
Running time 75 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel BBC1
Original airing 27 January 1965[1]

Fable is a British television play, shown on 27 January 1965 as an episode of The Wednesday Play series on BBC 1.[1] Written by John Hopkins, the play is set in a parallel totalitarian Britain where those in authority are black people, and white people are their social underdogs - a reversal of the situation in contemporary apartheid South Africa.[2]

It was directed by Christopher Morahan and produced by James MacTaggart.

Cast[edit]

Commentary[edit]

Although Hopkins had ant-racist intentions in writing the play, Audience Research at the time of the original broadcast suggested that, rather than eliciting compassion from whites in the audience, they saw the role reversal as threatening.[3] Carmen Munroe has said that for the actors the production was a frightening experience "because suddenly you were being asked to perform the sorts of acts that were performed against you in real life".[4] The programme's original screening, scheduled for 20 January 1965, was postponed by the BBC for one week "to avoid accentuating the colour issue" during the Leyton by-election to be held on 21 January.[5] In an era when negative responses to immigration were very high, some viewers interpreted the play in the opposite way to the one intended by Hopkins and his colleagues.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Sarita Malik Representing Black Britain: Black and Asian Images on Television, London: SAGE Publishing, 2002, p.138. Some sources suggest the play went out on 20 January, including the BFI's Screenonline article below, but the Leyton by-election was held on 21 January 1965.
  2. ^ a b Mark Duguid "Fable (1965)", BFI screenonline
  3. ^ Malik, p.139
  4. ^ cited in Sarita Malik, p.138
  5. ^ "T.V. Play on Colour Issue Deferred". The Times (London). 13 January 1965. p. 6.