On the 27th of December 1979, Thames Television screened ‘The Knowledge’, a comedy drama detailing the ups and downs of a group of students studying The Knowledge of London; the intense training process which must be undertaken in order to become a London taxi driver.
The play was written by the late Jack Rosenthal who interviewed many cabbies for his research. At the time- as indeed now- insights into what The Knowledge involved are extremely rare, so the film was something of a revelation.
The play’s most memorable character was Mr Burgess, a sadistic examiner played by Nigel Hawthorne.
Burgess was based on a real examiner- Mr Findlay, a formidable Scotsman who would emphasise his accent when testing students as a means of intimidating and bamboozling them.
The play, which was nominated for a BAFTA in 1980 and appeared in the BFI’s top 100 television plays in 2000, has now been revived for the stage and will be running at the Charing Cross Theatre from tonight- the 4th September 2017- until the 11th November.
It is directed by Maureen Lipman who was married to Jack Rosenthal and appeared in the original television production.
To find out more and to book tickets, please click here.
That was memorable TV indeed, and perfectly cast at the time. Shame I am not in London anymore. I watched the recent documentary on Channel Four, and noted that there are still feared examiners, and that the runs all sound unchanged too.
Best wishes, Pete.
It’s a great play Pete… on until November if you can make the trip to town 😉 Hope you’re keeping well.