Last night, in an effort to further familiarise myself with J. B. Priestley’s An Inspector Calls, I sat down to watch the recent BBC adaptation of the play on iPlayer. Yesterday was the last day that this adaptation was available online, but I managed to watch it just before it was taken down.
Although this version is not particularly true to the original text in that it frequently employs flashback scenes that do not appear in the original play, it does render the text more accessible and, dare I say, sensational enough for a prime time television broadcast.
Despite the fact that this BBC version made no attempt to make the play feel staged, and therefore did not employ certain theatrical lighting techniques that could have underlined the way that the inspector’s visit threw light upon the shadowy and cloistered existence of the Birling family, the way that this TV adaptation fleshed out the play with the realistic flashback scenes made the plot line extremely accessible. It also catered to the period drama audience that the BBC and other broadcasters have cultivated in recent years.