Madhouse on Castle Street (partially found BBC television play; 1963)

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Production still

Status: Partially Found

Madhouse on Castle street was a television play that was aired only once on January 13, 1963, by BBC TV as a part of the BBC Sunday-Night Play series.


One of the lodgers of an English boarding house has locked himself in his room, leaving a note stating that he has decided to retire from the world. His sister and the boarders try to convince him to come out and establish the reasoning behind his actions.[1]


The play was written by Evan Jones and directed by Phillip Saville. Then unknown musician Bob Dylan was cast for the role of the main character after Saville saw him perform in New York City and believed he would be perfect to play the main role; however, Dylan lacked the ability to play the part. Saville, still wanting to include Dylan, gave him the role of a new character who commented on the actions of other characters via singing. The character that Dylan was originally meant to portray was restructured into two new characters. The plans were to shoot the entire play within a single session; however, the time spent recording was substantially more than anticipated, and the session ended. The completion of the play was delayed due to a blizzard.[2]


The BBC wiped the master tape of the play in 1968 and no other copies are known to exist.[2]

Reel-to-reel recordings of the four songs performed by Dylan that were recorded by viewers of the program were turned into the BBC after an appeal in 2005 and remastered for partial use in the BBC documentary "Dylan in the Madhouse".[3] Two full tracks, Ballad of the Gliding Swan and Blowin' in the Wind, were released on the bootleg album Bob Dylan & Friends - Decades Live'61 To '94. The script is still in the possession of BBC.[4]


The Blowin' in the Wind and Ballad of the Gliding Swan recordings.

External Links


  1. IMDB page for the play Retrieved 18 Jan '18
  2. 2.0 2.1 Farinaccio, Vince (2007). Nothing to Turn Off: The Films and Video of Bob Dylan. pp. 6–12
  3. Independent article on the recovery of the recordings Retrieved 28 Jan '18
  4. Telegraph article on the public appeal by the BBC Retrieved 18 Jan '18