The Book Group: Nineteen Eighty-Four

Big Brother is still watching you… We celebrate George Orwell’s iconic dystopian novel.

This thought-provoking edition of The Book Group marks sixty years since the first publication of George Orwell’s iconic dystopian novel in June 1949: an enduring cultural reference point, its concerns are more topical than ever.

We are proud to present the first, groundbreaking live television adaptation of Nineteen Eighty-Four, first broadcast in 1954, alongside both feature film adaptations, released in 1955 and 1984. In addition a broad range of documentary material, much of it previously unavailable, addresses everything from Orwell’s own politics and their role in the novel’s creation, to its ongoing social and cultural impact, illustrating how the novel’s imagery has become ingrained in our national consciousness with the likes of Big Brother and Room 101.

With special thanks to the estate of the late Sonia Brownell Orwell.

Five to try

1984 (1955)

Little-known British feature ‘freely adapted’ from Orwell’s novel, with American actor Edmond O’Brien as Winston Smith.

George Orwell: The Road to the Left (Omnibus, 1973)

Melvyn Bragg explores a pivotal moment in Orwell’s life and politics, with contributions from WH Auden and Noam Chomsky.

The Crystal Spirit: Orwell on Jura (1983)

Ronald Pickup plays the ailing author in this rarely seen BBC dramatisation of the period he spent completing Nineteen Eighty-Four on the remote Scottish island.

Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984)

John Hurt was famously pitted against Richard Burton (in his last film role) in this major movie version.

The Real Room 101 (2003)

Discover the inspiration behind Orwell’s dreaded creation.

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