Philip Saville

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Philip Saville (sometimes credited as Philip Savile, born 28 October 1930, London) is a British television director and screenwriter whose career dates to the late 1950s. The British Film Institute's Screenonline website has described Saville as "one of Britain's most prolific and pioneering television and film directors".[1]


He began his working life as an actor. During the 1960s he directed television plays, such as Harold Pinter's A Night Out (1960) for ABC's Armchair Theatre anthology series. He directed over 40 plays for Armchair Theatre and helped pioneer the innovative visual style it became known for, including rapid and intricate camera movements during the often live productions.[1] He also directed Madhouse on Castle Street (1963) for the BBC. The (now lost) production was the first acting appearance of the folk singer Bob Dylan, whom Saville had flown over specifically to take part in the play.

In 1964, Saville's production of Hamlet at Elsinore for the BBC pioneered the use of videotape for location recording instead of film.[1]

Other significant programmes on which Saville worked include Out of the Unknown (1965) and the Boys from the Blackstuff (1982) for which Saville received a BAFTA to add to his earlier BAFTA for Hamlet at Elsinore (1964), and The Life and Loves of a She-Devil (1986).

For the cinema, Saville directed The Fruit Machine (1988, released as Wonderland in the US), Metroland (1997) and The Gospel of John (2003).

He also directed a masterclass studio in London specializing in dramatic improvisation.[2] Saville's documentary on Harold Pinter Pinter's Progress (2009) for Sundance international television channels and UK's Sky Arts features numerous interviews with associates of the Nobel Prize–winning playwright.

Personal life[edit]

Saville was married to the actress, film and theatre director Jane Arden with whom he had two sons, Sebastian and Dominic.

In the 1960s, Saville, while married, had an affair with the artist Pauline Boty, whom he had met towards the end of her student days and who had worked for him.[3] (Their affair is said to have inspired the movie Darling.)[4]

A relationship with Diana Rigg[5] contributed significantly to the celebrity-centred London life in the later nineteen-sixties.


  • 1948 Penny and the Pownall Case
  • 1948 A Piece of Cake
  • 1948 Penny and the Pownall Case, Actor: Police Car Driver
  • 1953 Murder at 3am, Actor: Edward/Jim King
  • 1953 The Straw Man, Actor: Link Hunter
  • 1954 Bang! You're Dead, Actor: Ben Jones
  • 1954 The Night of the Full Moon, Actor: Dale Merritt
  • 1955 Contraband Spain, Actor: Martin Scott
  • 1956 On the Run, Actor: Driscol
  • 1957 The Great Van Robbery, Actor: Carter
  • 1958 The Betrayal, Actor: Bartel
  • 1958 Three Crooked Men, Actor: Seppy
  • 1959 An Honourable Murder, Actor: Mark Anthony
  • 1964 Hamlet [made for television], Director
  • 1964 In Camera [made for television], Director / Adapted by
  • 1966 Stop the World, I Want to Get Off, Director
  • 1968 Oedipus the King, Director / Screenwriter
  • 1969 The Best House in London, Director
  • 1971 Secrets, Director / Screenwriter
  • 1977 Count Dracula, Director
  • 1984 Those Glory, Glory Days, Director
  • 1985 Shadey, Director
  • 1986 The Life and Loves of a She-Devil, Director
  • 1987 Mandela, Director
  • 1988 The Fruit Machine (1988), a/k/a Wonderland (USA), Director
  • 1989 Fellow Traveler, Director
  • 1990 Max and Helen, Director
  • 1990 Crash: The Mystery of Flight 1501, Director
  • 1991 Angels, Director
  • 1991 The Cloning of Joanna May, Director
  • 1993 Family Pictures, Director
  • 1997 Metroland, Director
  • 1998 Little White Lies, Director
  • 2000 My Uncle Silas, Director
  • 2002 The Biographer: The Secret Life of Princess Di, Director
  • 2003 The Gospel of John, Director


  1. ^ a b c Wake, Oliver. "Saville, Philip (1930-)". Screenonline. Retrieved 6 January 2015. 
  2. ^ See The Philip Saville Studio
  3. ^ Sabine Durrant "The Darling of Her Generation", The Independent on Sunday, 7 March 1993
  4. ^ Boty auditioned for the role that went to Julie Christie. See Bill Smith, "The Only Blonde in the World," Latest Art, February 2006, p.1
  5. ^ Miss Peelpants (7 Feb 2011). "Diana Rigg and Philip Saville".  External link in |title= (help);

External links[edit]