Where online to view BBC adaptation of Oresteia - The Serpent Son?
November 27, 2017 7:44 PM   Subscribe

The BBC produced, in 1979, a three-part version of Aeschylus' Oresteia trilogy titled The Serpent Son that featured Diana Rigg as Clytemnestra and Helen Mirren as Cassandra. I'd love to see it, but can find it nowhere online. I understand, per the linked article, it can be seen at BFI, but I'm on the other side of the pond. Any thoughts on where I might view this online? Thanks in advance.
posted by the sobsister to Media & Arts (4 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Are you in the US? Does it have to be online? Check your local library. My library has, like, every BBC production ever made. It's like a law: all libraries must support the BBC. It's great!
posted by Aquifer at 5:31 AM on November 28, 2017


Sorry, no info on where you might see it but the script is available as a paperback from amazon uk here. Tantalizing visuals on google image search, no sight nor sound of anything like a recording - though there must have been one for the viewing in 2012. I expect you discovered all that already.
posted by glasseyes at 5:31 AM on November 28, 2017


Thanks for your replies. I luckily recently found a used copy of the paperback of the translation used for the production, which fueled my interest even further. And that's a good suggestion: I will check the library, though my local system is rather hopeless.

Given the star power involved, I'm surprised this hasn't achieved greater popularity/availability, but that may be in the eye of the wannabe-beholder.
posted by the sobsister at 9:01 AM on November 28, 2017


Given the star power involved, I'm surprised this hasn't achieved greater popularity/availability, but that may be in the eye of the wannabe-beholder.

It's extremely difficult to find recordings of 1970s/1980s BBC productions. As I understand the situation, BBC Video wasn't established until 1980 (which makes sense, given the market penetration of home VHS) and it took several years after that to hash out agreements with actors' and musicians' unions, so any productions featuring union or Equity talent couldn't be released to home video -- most of the early BBC Video stuff is all nature docs and third-party-licensed material for that reason. Which is unfortunate, given how many great performances they've aired over the years.

I know some of the Greek plays they've done were released by Films for the Humanities and Sciences on VHS, back in the day -- there was a great production of Medea they put out, I know -- but given the star power in this trilogy, I wouldn't be surprised if it didn't make it to tape.
posted by halation at 2:35 PM on November 28, 2017


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