BBC Drama classics to return to the iPlayer.

“What a wonderful treat for us to able bring all these programmes back to BBC iPlayer. As well as reliving iconic moments like Mr Darcy’s lake scene and Francis Urquhart’s political scheming and manipulations, we’ve also reached deep into the BBC’s archive to bring audiences treasures like the brilliant sci-fi classic Quatermass and the Pit and an early breakout performance from Judi Dench in Talking to a Stranger.” – Piers Wenger, controller of drama commissioning for the BBC

Fans of classic BBC drama can now view a host of productions as boxsets on the BBC iPlayer the beeb today announced. The 1995 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, the original 1990 series of House of Cards and 2004’s North and South are all coming the From the Archive section – along with a number of other series.

Regarded by many as the definitive on-screen version of the beloved Jane Austen novel, the 1995 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice stars Colin Firth as Mr Darcy and Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet. The series is most famous for the scene in which Firth emerges from a lake in dripping wet clothes before a surprise encounter with Miss Bennet, which has been called one of the most unforgettable moments in British TV history.

Drama fans can also enjoy the first series of House of Cards, which first aired on the BBC in 1990. The original version follows Francis Urquhart, played by Ian Richardson, as he schemes and vies for power of the Conservative Party following the end of Margaret Thatcher’s reign. 2004’s North and South depicts Elizabeth Gaskell’s feisty and passionate story, set across the social divide in the changing world of Victorian industrial society. When it first aired the series also introduced audiences to Richard Armitage, before he went on to star in Spooks and Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit.

Also included in the new additions to iPlayer’s From the Archive section is the classic sci-fi series Quatermass and the Pit. Originally broadcast by the BBC in 1958, the series made a big impression on the creators of Doctor Who, and has been cited as a major influence by author Stephen King and film director John Carpenter.

Viewers can also enjoy Mike Leigh’s highly regarded 1976 cult comedy Nuts in May, which follows the story of a nature-loving and rather self-righteous couple’s exhausting battle to enjoy what they perceive to be the idyllic camping holiday.

The oldest programme in the new additions is 1956’s Mrs Patterson, a television play about race and adolescence set in the Deep South of America in the 1920s. The series stars Eartha Kitt as Theodora ‘Teddy’ Hicks and the first cast with black actors in leading roles in British TV history.

Also included is Talking To A Stranger, a 1966 series that features a breakout, Bafta-winning performance from a young Judi Dench, and cult classic The War Game. Originally filmed in 1965, the drama-documentary was deemed too shocking for TV audiences of the time and was banned from broadcast for 20 years, finally being first aired in 1985.

“The programmes will sit in BBC iPlayer’s From the Archive section. Launched last September, the section hosts over 400 programmes from the BBC’s vaults, from 1946 to the present day, including BBC documentary series Horizon, Storyville and Imagine, alongside popular classics and programmes from legendary BBC stars like David Attenborough, Dawn French and Barbara Windsor. Just last week, filmmaker Louis Theroux curated a selection of documentaries that have moved, inspired and influenced him for BBC iPlayer’s From the Archive section.” – BBC iPlayer

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