Sunday Night Theatre: Nineteen Eighty-Four (1954a)

UK, 12 December 1954
broadcast live, black and white, 4:3
mono, English
Series: Sunday Night Theatre (1950-1959)

A British science fiction episode produced by Rudolph Cartier with Nigel Kneale adapting the novel by George Orwell. This was the first of two live presentations of the same performance and this is not the one that was retained by the BBC for its archive – that’s the second performance staged four days later.

Plot Summary

The near future: Britain is now Air-Strip One, part of the power-bloc Oceania, constantly at war with its neighbours and ruled over by the omniscient Big Brother. Despite constant surveillance and the attentions of the ‘Thought Police’ some of the populace try to resist – one of them is Winston Smith who is soon captured and exposed to the horrors of Room 101…


Produced by: Rudolph Cartier
Adapted as a television play by Nigel Kneale
By: George Orwell
Incidental Music Composed and Conducted by: John Hotchkis

Peter Cushing (Winston Smith)
André Morell (O’Brien)
Yvonne Mitchell (Julia)
Donald Pleasence (Syme)
Arnold Diamond (Emmanuel Goldstein)
Campbell Gray (Parsons)
Hilda Fenemore (Mrs Parsons)
Pamela Grant (Parsons girl)
Keith Davis (Parsons boy)
Janet Barrow (woman supervisor)
Norman Osborne (first youth)
Tony Lyons (second youth)
Malcolm Knight (third youth)
John Baker (first man)
Victor Platt (second man)
Van Boolen (barman)
Wilfrid Brambell (old man, thin prisoner)
Leonard Sachs (Mr Charrington)
Sydney Bromley (waiter)
Janet Joye (canteen woman)
Richard Williams (narrator)

Sunday Night Theatre: Nineteen Eighty-Four (1954b)

See also
1984 (1955)
Nineteen Eighty Four (1965)
Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984)
Theatre 625: The World of George Orwell: 1984 (1965)



  • Cult TV vol.1 no.1 August 1997 p.65 – illustrated short article
  • Journal of Popular Film and Television vol.30 no.3 (Autumn 2002) pp.158-165 – illustrated article (“Bring Something Back” – The strange career of Professor Bernard Quatermass by Dave Robinson and Nick Cooper)
  • Playback (1995) p.25 – illustrated short article
  • SFX no.352 (May 2022) 72-75; 96 – illustrated article (Thoughtcrime and punishment); illustrated review (Reviews: Nineteen Eighty-Four by Ian Berriman)
  • Sight & Sound vol.53 no.2 (Spring 1984) pp.111-114 – illustrated article (News From Oceania by Jill Forbes)
  • Supernatural no.1 (January 1969) pp.44-46 – illustrated article (Television fantasy by Stan Nicholls)
  • The Veteran no.105 (December 2004) pp.6-8 – illustrated article


  • Dagens Nyheter 14 December 1954 p.12 – article (1984 i TV spred skräck över England)


  • BBC Television Drama Research Guide (electronic edition) p.2109 – credits