An ABC anthology television series that played single-episode television programs from overseas, but also produced and promoted new Australian works.
The individual works had no explicit thematic connection to one another, and the term 'theatre' was applied loosely: some instalments were adaptations of stage plays, but many appear to have been written directly as 'television plays'. The series also semi-regularly aired operas.
In some instances, the productions were imported wholesale from other countries: 'Collect Your Hand Luggage' (aired 20 October 1965), for example, is a re-titled broadcast of ITV Television Playhouse episode 'Collect Your Hand Baggage' (originally aired in 1963).
In other instances, the episodes are Australian productions of international works: 'Tartuffe' (aired 13 October 1965), for example, is an Australian production of the Moliere play, produced Henri Safran and with an Australian cast. These productions are only indexed individually on AustLit if there is a discernible Australian script-writer and/or localisation of the production.
Wednesday Theatre followed a common pattern for anthology series on early Australian television, in that the Australian content rapidly dropped away and the series became primarily re-screenings of British productions: see also Stuart Wagstaff's World Playhouse.
For a full listing of episodes and airdates, see under Film Details.
In 1966, Wednesday Theatre aired the following ABC productions, which (despite being produced in the ABC studios) are not Australian-written and therefore not individually indexed on AustLit:
Recreates the fraught relationship between Arthur Rimbaud and Paul Verlaine at the end of the nineteenth century.Australia : Australian Broadcasting Commission , 1965
Deals with the interactions of a 'xenophobic tramp and an English wife (June Thody) on a lonely sheep station, faced with temptation in the form of a handsome young Australian-born Italian labourer. Apart from the inclusion of an irrelevant character, the play opens tautly with not a moment wasted in creating the setting for a night of adultery. The arrival of the swagman (portrayed brilliantly by Edward Hepple) introduces a Pinteresque situation in which he slowly insinuates himself further and further, disrupting the couple's hoped-for night of solitary domesticity.'
Source: 'U.K. Playwright, Long Range View' (see Works About).Australia : Australian Broadcasting Commission , 1965
A country doctor at the end of the nineteenth century enters a closed community (The Community), whose members are forbidden contact with the outside world, to treat a dying girl and finds himself in conflict with their elder.Australia : Australian Broadcasting Commission , 1965
A modern version of the Apollo and Daphne story, adapted by Australian script-writer John Warwick from the play by Scottish dramatist James Bridie.Australia : Australian Broadcasting Commission , 1965
'Rural comedy about two brothers, one of whom decides to find a wife by correspondence. The lady turns up, but isn't quite what the two inexperienced brothers expect.'
[Television guide], The canberra Times, 12 July 1965, p.16.Australia : Australian Broadcasting Commission , 1965
'Digger Smith comes back from World War II to his wife Shirl and baby daughter Betty and his modest house. Dig is a happy, uncomplicated man until the wave of prosperity catches up with him.'
[Television guide], The Canberra Times, 28 July 1965, p.19.Australia : Australian Broadcasting Commission , 1965
A contemporary newspaper report offers the following synopsis: 'The story deals with a crew which deserts a ship to find a fortune on the NSW goldfields of the 1850s and the efforts of the captain to lure them back on board.'
Source: '"Combat" Private in a Ballad', Canberra Times, 2 August 1965, p.1.Australia : Australian Broadcasting Commission , 1965
'Based Balzac's novel [sic] — Eugenie Grandet — a study of greed and the distorting effects on human beings whom it involves.'
[Television guide], The Canberra Times, 25 October 1965, p.18.Melbourne : Australian Broadcasting Commission , 1965
Described in contemporary television guides as 'A fast-moving comedy thriller set in present-day Australia' (Canberra Times, 2 May 1966, p.23).
No other information is currently available.Australia : Australian Broadcasting Commission , 1966
According to contemporary news reports, 'The story [was] built around the military occupation of an uneasy middle east country and a modern version of the Resurrection'.
Hay, John. 'Sanders' Spring Twitch', The Canberra Times, 26 August 1966, p.13.Melbourne : Australian Broadcasting Commission , 1966
'On December 29, 1170, a "turbulent priest" named Thomas a Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, was martyred in his own cathedral. For nearly three-and-a-half centuries his tomb behind the High Altar was the goal of countless pilgrims (including of course Chaucer's), seeking the Saint's blessing and hoping for cures. Then came the Reformation; and Thomas' coffin with the vast treasure which pilgrims had helped around it disappeared. In A Breach In The Wall, tonight's play, the Australian playwright Ray Lawler suggests what might be the consequences if the Saint's body were ever to come to light again.
'A Breach In The Wall is set some time in the near future. The parish church of the Kentish village of Valham is undergoing long-overdue restoration - restoration largely made possible by the fund-raising efforts of the able and radical young incumbent, Lewis Patterson. A walled-in chamber is discovered and within it is a coffin sealed with the crest of Becket. The excitement which follows is used by Mr Lawler to examine the state of the Churches, and Faith itself, today. Would the discovery help to breach the wall between the Anglican and Roman Churches? If the body again became an object of pilgrimage, would it cause an embarrassing revival of "superstition"?'
Source: Radio Times, 23 March 1967.1968