Friday, December 19, 2014

Alan Ayckbourn Front Row Special

Alan Ayckbourn will have a prominent place on BBC Radio this Christmas Day with a special edition of Front Row.
He is the subject of the BBC culture show in which presenter Kirsty Lang interviews him about his career and most recent play, Roundelay.
The half-hour show will be broadcast at 7.15pm on BBC Radio 4 and the entire programme will be dedicated to Alan Ayckbourn. The programme will also be available to live stream and on BBC iPlayer.
For further details and where to listen to it on iPlayer, visit the BBC website here.

Alan Ayckbourn will also be contributing to a Front Row special The Rise And Rise Of Event Cinema, exploring the flourishing phenomenon of plays, musicals and operas being streamed to cinemas around the country - and the world.
It will be broadcast on Monday 29 December at 7.15pm and further details can be found here.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Unseen Ayckbourn

It's that time of year when we give an unapologetic plug to the website's book, Unseen Ayckbourn - currently on offer via Amazon.
The exploration of Alan Ayckbourn's withdrawn, unpublished and lost works is currently available for just £6.78 on (as opposed to r.r.p. of £10) and for readers based in North America, there's currently 10% off on at $14.90.
Written by Simon Murgatroyd - Alan Ayckbourn's Archivist and the creator and administrator of the playwright's official website - the book was named as one of The Stage's theatre books of the year in 2013.
Unseen Ayckbourn covers Alan Ayckbourn's writing career from his teenage years through to 2014 also offering an insight into unused or abandoned concepts, variations of existing plays, alternative play titles and other ephemera such as screenplays.
It also includes an exclusive interview with Alan Ayckbourn about his early withdrawn plays and an extensive article looking at the story behind his biggest flop, the musical Jeeves.
The book is a guide to the rarely or never seen side of Alan's writing derived from material held in the Ayckbourn Archive. Buying the book also helps to support the website.
Unseen Ayckbourn is available now from, or direct from the publisher Lulu.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Ayckbourn On DVD Question...

It's that time of the year again when the majority of emails Alan Ayckbourn's Official Website's receives are...
Where can I get a DVD / Blu-ray of the BBC's version of [insert Ayckbourn play title of choice]?
The full answer can be found in the Film, TV & Radio section of the official website, but - apologies for constant blog readers who have read this before - it's worth repeating here.

The simple answer to the question is: unfortunately, none of the BBC's television adaptations of Alan Ayckbourn's plays have ever been commercially released. And as for the non-BBC television adaptations, you're limited to The Norman Conquests on DVD.
Frustrating as it may be for Ayckbourn fans, there appears to be little inclination to release the TV adaptations commercially either now or in the future.

The reasons for this are not obvious - and are not known to Sir Alan - but are presumably commercial in nature. Whilst, as Ayckbourn fans, it may seem a no-brainer to release archive television material onto DVD or blu-ray, there are always going to be hurdles in the way.
Not least the costs - be they restoration of prints, licensing costs or just the standard compensation to the creative talent involved - and on top of all that, there is the principal question of will
it sell enough to be commercially viable!
And, sadly, if we're objectively looking at demand for the TV plays, the fact the last Ayckbourn repeated on the BBC (Season's Greetings in 2011) did not even make it into the BBC3 Top Ten for that week (which makes its a pitifully small viewing figure given BBC3's ratings) is hardly a glowing endorsement for the company to take the risk of a commercial release.

What is perhaps worth emphasising is that Alan Ayckbourn himself is not one of the reasons why the likes of the BBC’s Season’s Greetings, Absent Friends and Absurd Person Singular are not available. In principal, he has never had any objection to the release of the plays on DVD or blu-ray. However, he doesn't have any influence or say in the matter as the all important initial decision as to whether to release the films has to be taken by the BBC (or the relevant rights holder).

So, sadly, for those of you who hoping to see the BBC’s Season’s Greetings this Christmas - or any of the other BBC adaptations (Absent Friends, Absurd Person Singular, Relatively Speaking and Way Upstream) or the ITV adaptations (Bedroom Farce, Just Between Ourselves and Time And Time Again) - it’s going to be another frustrating year (probably best making that years).

But if the situation should ever change and the BBC does decide to release the Ayckbourn television adaptations or even just repeat them or make them available on iPlayer, we’ll be the first to let you know at

In the meantime, much as we'd like to help and much as we'd like to see the television adaptations ourselves, we don't have any means to access them or a secret stash of them. Sorry to all those who have written or may consider writing - the answer, for the foreseeable future, is there is no way to get them.

Monday, December 15, 2014

This Week: 15 December 2015

Welcome to This Week, our regular guide to major Ayckbourn productions in the coming seven days, a look back on the Ayckbourn news of the last seven days and a look at some significant Ayckbourn anniversaries from this week in years past.

This Week & Coming Soon
21 - 31 January: Roundelay at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford, directed by Alan Ayckbourn.

News Round Up:
> Having already been named as one of Time's 10 plays of the years, Alan Ayckbourn's Arrivals & Departures also received an honourable mention in the New York Times' best shows of 2015.
> There's not much time left to get your Ayckbourn-related Christmas presents via the Ayckbourn Shop at You can find present ideas for the Ayckbourn fans as well as helping to support the website. The shop can be found at

16 December: World premiere of Alan Ayckbourn & Paul Todd's musical Making Tracks at the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round, Scarborough, in 1981.
16 December: World premiere of Alan Ayckbourn and Denis King's musical Awaking Beauty at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, in 2008.
18 December: World premiere of Alan Ayckbourn's Cheap & Cheerful at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, in 1998.
19 December: World premiere of Alan Ayckbourn's Dad's Tale at Victoria Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent, in 1960.
21 December: World premiere of Alan Ayckbourn's second play Love After All at the Library Theatre, Scarborough, in 1959.