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RSC Nicholas Nickleby (Region 2)


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#1 of 6 Howard S

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Posted July 22 2003 - 05:54 AM

Shortly after the UK Channel 4 televison channel launched in the early 80's, they showed a 9-hour Royal Shakespeare Company stage production of Nicholas Nickleby. If I remember rightly, the production was shown over 3 or 4 nights.

This production really made an impression on me...at the time I thought that everything about it, the adaptation, the characterisations, the acting, the settings, the music, was just perfect. It was even in Stereo!

According to Virgin's Megastore UK website, a DVD of the production is scheduled for release on 25th August.

I've been thinking about buying the Region 1 version of this production which has already been released, but have been put off because it appears that this is based on a PBS re-edit, which reputedly removed and shortened some of the scenes, removed incidental music, and cut the play into 'artificial' 1 hour slots, rather than the intended Acts.

Does anyone know whether the forthcoming R2 DVD is truer to the original broadcast?

#2 of 6 andrew markworthy

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Posted July 22 2003 - 07:01 AM

Quote:
If I remember rightly, the production was shown over 3 or 4 nights.


Howard, at the risk of being a total trainspotter, that was the re-run of the show, which was shown in that format over Christmas week a couple of years later. I remember sitting with my parents on my Christmas visit home watching it broadcast in that form (and trust me, anything that could make that sort of occasion bearable *has* to be good). Indeed, I persuaded my father to videotape them all for me (at the time, I didn't have my own player - I just was saving them up for future enjoyment). When it was first shown, it was done in much shorter 1 hour or even half hour episodes that ran in competition with Boulez's famous production of the Ring Cycle on BBC2. So the 'bleeding chunks' version of Nick Nickleby was probably there from the start.

I have the R1 version, and I've got to say that technically it's okay, but not special. The jaunty music cutting in every hour with the cast taking curtain calls is a bit jarring, I must admit, but there's always the chapter jump button, I guess. However, I hope that the picture and sound are better than the R1 version, which aren't all that hot. A shame, because I recall that when Nicam stereo *finally* arrived in the UK, scenes from NN were used as demonstration broadcasts. On the plus side, I don't think that *all* that much has been clipped from the R1 DVDs compared with the TV broadcasts. Of course, a fair amount was removed that was in the stage production, but on the whole, I thought those cuts were reasonably judicious.

#3 of 6 Howard S

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Posted July 22 2003 - 08:46 AM

Andrew,

I think you're right about the re-run combining some of the original episodes, although I have a vague idea that the first airing was shown in 4 episodes, over 4 weekends, and the re-run ran the combined episodes over 2 or 3 consecutive nights. Like your parents, my parents videotaped the re-run, onto Betamax....however their machine has long since bitten the dust.

I suppose the picture on the R1 DVD may have suffered in the conversion from PAL to NTSC, so the R2 DVD picture should hopefully be an improvement. And I certainly agree with you that it's a shame about the sound - my parents bought a NICAM TV shortly after they were introduced, and I fed the audio line outputs through their hifi system - my recollection is that NN sounded great!

Whichever company is issuing this DVD, I hope that they care enough to do a proper job!

#4 of 6 Howard S

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Posted July 22 2003 - 08:58 AM

Just in case you're interested, I have just found the following two pages....seems that the production was the 'first' TV drama to be recorded in 24-track sound, and received a BAFTA nomination for sound...

http://www.geocities..._29/nick12.html
http://www.amps.net/...rew_boulton.htm

Hmmm...

#5 of 6 andrew markworthy

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Posted July 22 2003 - 07:05 PM

Howard, thanks for the info. Interestingly, it states there that the production was:

Quote:
4 x 2 hours television adaptation of the RSC production for the opening of Channel 4 by Primetime Television.


So I guess I could be wrong, and the bleeding chunks version I recall was the first re-run. However, the 1 or half hour version definitely *was* shown on Brit TV. I know, because I was at college at the time and had the option of watching on my tiny B&W portable either NN or the Ring Cycle (Das Rheingold intact and then one act of the other three operas per week), and they ran in tandem. There was a rather nice girl who wanted to see the Wagner, and who didn't have a TV. So guess which I chose? And guess who then turned up to watch it with boyfriend. Posted Image

#6 of 6 NY2LA

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Posted October 22 2012 - 11:53 AM

So many years later the question remains: Has anyone in the US found a DVD that is NOT chopped up into nine parts? I noticed the unchopped version (four parts) was shown and there was some kind of reunion in UK in the last year or so. So we know at least somebody has it.




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