An Inspector Calls (lost television adaptation of play; 1948)
An Inspector Calls is a drama play written by British playwright and dramatist J.B Preistly in 1945. The play is a compact story of the upper class Birling family in the fictional town of Brumley, 1912. The family celebrates the engagement of daughter Sheila to Gerald Croft, a family friend and son of father Arthur Birling's business rival. The evening is disrupted by the arrival of "Inspector Goole", a strange, ironically ghoulish figure who begins to interview the family individually on the grounds that they may be somehow related to the death of a young girl by the name of Eva Smith, who has multiple alter egos. The film expands on the ideas of Socialism versus Capitalism, leaning in favour of the former in according with Priestly's views.
The play is quite popular in British society as it is a piece of literature which has been studied for quite a few years in schools as it is a part of the English Literature General Certificate as a prescribed text, yet it also is famous because of it's deep-resonating message which strikes with people outside of schooling. If you know anything about history, you should probably be aware of the harsh, classist and Capitalistic society that dwelled in the year 1912, yet the message of how that type of society causes suffering was still relevant in 1945 when the play was written and subsequently still relevant now today, this media deserves to be preserved as it was the very first in a long line of depth-expanding adaptations of an important story.
The film has had multiple adaptations over the years, with the 1954 film adaptation and 2015 adaptation, yet the the BBC's 1948 televised production, is completely overlooked and missing. Nothing of this production is available to the public, except for a single sill image and a television listing from Radio Times, Issue 1281. This performance would have starred George Hayes as the titular Inspector Goole, Alastair Bannerman as George Croft, Julian Mitchell and Mary Merrall as Mr Arthur Birling and Mrs Sybil Birling respectively and Joy Shelton and Derek Blomfield as Sheila and Eric Birling, and the play would have aired on May 4th at 8:30 at night, but not much else is known.
It's unlikely that this film will ever be salvaged considering BBC's reputation for handling and preservation of film, and it was most likely a live broadcast so there may not have been anything to preserve in the first place. All that is available for the general public is a single image, an article detailing the play (not mentioning anything about the specific Televised performance but the story itself), and a cast listing with show times.
- Wikipedia article on the 1954 film adaptation of An Inspector Calls.
- Wikipedia article on the 2015 adaptation of An Inspector Calls.
- The film's IMDB page.
- A TV ad for An Inspector Calls in Radio Times Issue 1281, Page 26, courtesy of BBC archive. Retrieved 06 March '20