Play of the Month

Season 12 Episode 1

The Picture of Dorian Gray

Aired Sunday 8:15 PM Sep 19, 1976 on BBC

Episode Fan Reviews (1)

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  • A dramatisation by John Osborne of Oscar Wilde's sensational novel of the 1890s, about a man who stays looking young whilst a painting of him keeps changing (for the worse).

    Dorian Gray is an almost impossible part for an actor to play - Hurd Hatfield managed it best in the 1945 film by presenting us with a kind of living waxwork. In this lavish, but very disappointing, TV version (by way of John Osborne's stage adaptation, which was also unsuccessful), Peter Firth plays Dorian, and he's all wrong. Boyish instead of handsome, petulant instead of cruel, blank instead of enigmatic, this Dorian is very dull. The horror element is, bafflingly, almost ignored so that Osborne can concentrate on attacking "decadence" - he really seems to disapprove of Wilde. Even the wit and the aphorisms get short shrift. John Gielgud, for all his great skill, is badly miscast and thirty years too old for his role. Only Judi Bowker, as the innocent Dorian destroys, is really effective.