BBC answers Sir Ian McKellen’s call for more plays on TV with a resounding yes

Exclusive: Following a plea from the Lord of the Rings star, the Corporation says it will air more theatre productions

Sir Ian McKellen’s call for the BBC to commission more TV adaptations of stage plays appears to have been successful.


At the BFI screening of his recent TV drama The Dresser, McKellen asked the Corporation to adapt more stage works.

“I can’t recommend plays on television enough,” the Lord of the Rings star said after the showing of the BBC2 film based on Ronald Harwood’s play, in which he stars alongside Anthony Hopkins. 

“I hope the BBC takes courage from this because of late there’s been a lack of theatre. In the past few years, we haven’t had the one-off play, and plays adapt better to television than they do to film.” 

Following his call, a senior BBC source revealed that the Corporation does now plan to adapt more stage plays, confirming “There will be more in future”. 

Prior to the screening McKellen told “There will be other plays that you haven’t seen that you may not be able to see in the theatre that could be popular on television and I hope that happens.”

Asked if he would be interested in being in them he replied: “Absolutely.”


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