Philip Saville (28 October 1930 – 22 December 2016) was a British director, screenwriter and former actor whose career lasted half a century. The British Film Institute's Screenonline website has described Saville as "one of Britain's most prolific and pioneering television and film directors".
Saville in 2001
|Born||28 October 1930|
|Died||22 December 2016 (aged 86)|
Hampstead, London, England
|Other names||Philip Savile|
(m. 1947; died 1982)
(m. 1987; his death 2016)
Saville was born in London in 1930. He studied science at London University and trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA). His National Service in the Royal Corps of Signals was ended by his discharge after he sustained a serious knee injury involving an armoured vehicle.
From the 1950s, Saville worked in television as a director working on plays such as Harold Pinter's A Night Out (1960) for ABC's Armchair Theatre anthology series. He directed over 40 plays for Armchair Theatre and helped pioneer the innovative visual style it became known for, including rapid and intricate camera movements during the often live productions. The critic John Russell Taylor, however, wrote that Saville had submerged the romance "Duel for Love" (Armchair Theatre, 1961) "under intricate camerawork of exquisite beauty and complete irrelevance".
Saville also directed Madhouse on Castle Street (1963) for the BBC, an example "of his interest in psychological states and subjective viewpoints", according to Oliver Wake. The (now lost) production was the first acting appearance of the folk singer Bob Dylan, whom Saville had flown over specifically to take part in the play. Saville's production of Hamlet at Elsinore (1964) for the BBC pioneered the use of videotape for location recording. An anonymous reviewer in The Times wrote that Saville "while creating handsome pictures, did not allow the setting to distract him from the business of the play". He also worked on an episode of Out of the Unknown, a version of the E.M. Forster short story "The Machine Stops" (1966) in this period. This won the main prize at the 1967 Trieste international science fiction film festival.
Other significant programmes on which Saville worked include Boys from the Blackstuff (1982) for which Saville received a BAFTA to add to his earlier BAFTA for Hamlet at Elsinore, and The Life and Loves of a She-Devil (1986).
He also directed a masterclass studio in London specialising in dramatic improvisation. Saville's documentary on Harold Pinter Pinter's Progress (2009) for Sundance international television channels and UK's Sky Arts features numerous interviews with associates of the Nobel Prize–winning playwright.
Saville was married to the actress, film and theatre director Jane Arden from 1947; the couple had two sons, Sebastian and Dominic, but separated in the mid-1960s, although they did not divorce. Arden died in 1982. He also had a daughter, Elizabeth Saville from another relationship. In the 1960s, Saville, while married, had an affair with the artist Pauline Boty, whom he had met towards the end of her student days and who had worked for him. Their affair is said to have inspired the film Darling. He also had an eight-year relationship with actress Diana Rigg in the same period.
From the 1960s onward, he lived in the former home of the artist Augustus John in St John's Wood, London. Philip Saville married his second wife, Nina Francis (née Zuckerman) in 1987 with whom he had a son Waldo Saville. His wife Nina was at his bedside when he died.
- 1948 A Piece of Cake
- 1948 To the Public Danger
- 1948 Penny and the Pownall Case (actor: Police Car Driver)
- 1953 Murder at 3am (actor: Edward/Jim King)
- 1953 The Straw Man (actor: Link Hunter)
- 1954 Bang! You're Dead (actor: Ben Jones)
- 1954 The Night of the Full Moon (actor: Dale Merritt)
- 1955 Contraband Spain (actor: Martin Scott)
- 1957 The Great Van Robbery (actor: Carter)
- 1957 The Betrayal (actor: Bartel)
- 1958 On the Run (actor: Driscol)
- 1958 Three Crooked Men (actor: Seppy)
- 1959 An Honourable Murder (actor: Mark Anthony)
- 1960 Armchair Theatre: A Night Out (television)
- 1962 Armchair Theatre: Afternoon of a Nymph (television)
- 1964 Hamlet at Elsinore (television), (director)
- 1964 The Wednesday Play: In Camera (television), (director/adaptation) — based on Jean-Paul Sartre's No Exit
- 1966 Stop the World, I Want to Get Off (director) — based on the musical Stop the World – I Want to Get Off
- 1968 Oedipus the King (director/screenwriter)
- 1969 The Best House in London, (director)
- 1971 Secrets (director/screenwriter)
- 1977 Count Dracula (director)
- 1983 Those Glory Glory Days (director)
- 1985 Shadey (director)
- 1986 The Life and Loves of a She-Devil (director)
- 1987 Mandela (director)
- 1988 The Fruit Machine (director, US: Wonderland)
- 1989 Fellow Traveler (director)
- 1990 Max and Helen (director)
- 1990 Crash: The Mystery of Flight 1501 (director)
- 1991 Angels (director)
- 1991 The Cloning of Joanna May (director) — based on Fay Weldon's The Cloning of Joanna May
- 1993 Family Pictures (director)
- 1995 The Buccaneers (director, TV miniseries/serial) — based on Edith Wharton's The Buccaneers
- 1997 Metroland (director)
- 1998 Little White Lies (director)
- 2000 My Uncle Silas (director)
- 2002 The Biographer: The Secret Life of Princess Di (director)
- 2003 Hans Christian Andersen: My Life as a Fairytale (director, film made for TV)
- 2003 The Gospel of John (director)
- Wake, Oliver. "Saville, Philip (1930-)". Screenonline. Retrieved 6 January 2015.
- Hadoke, Toby (1 January 2017). "Philip Saville Obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 January 2017.
- Wake, Oliver (7 January 2013). "Philip Saville: Play for Today Biography". British Television Drama. Retrieved 23 December 2016.
- "Gentle Spirit of Hamlet in Its Native Setting". The Times. London. 20 April 1964. Retrieved 2 January 2017.
- See The Philip Saville Studio Archived 2006-05-23 at the Wayback Machine
- Durrant, Sabine (7 March 1993). "The Darling of Her Generation". The Independent on Sunday.
- Boty auditioned for the role that went to Julie Christie. See Bill Smith, "The Only Blonde in the World," Latest Art, February 2006, p. 1
- "Philip Saville". The Times. 24 December 2016. Retrieved 24 December 2016. (subscription required)
- Hauptfuhrer, Fred (15 June 1974). "Being Mr. Diana Rigg Was Too Much for Gueffen". People. Retrieved 23 December 2016.
- "Nothing like a dame". The Scotsman. 29 September 2002. Retrieved 23 December 2016.
- Clarke, Steve (31 January 1995). "Confessions of an unfaithful TV director". The Independent. Retrieved 23 December 2016.
- "See IMDb fil database".