Some may have heard of J.B. Priestly’s play ‘An Inspector Calls’, it may be a popular choice on the UK educational curriculum, having many young students study it as part of their English literature GCSE.
Although the play was first performed in 1945, it may have been given a new lease of life with its recent dramatisation, an hour long film on BBC1 starring David Thewlis as Inspector Goole (also known for his role in the Harry Potter franchise). Before the short film aired on BBC1, there was a great deal of anticipation. Now that it has been aired, it is currently on BBC iplayer; it appears to continue drawing in viewers and inspire new thoughts.
The play is based in 1912 Britain and revolves around the aristocratic Birling family; this includes Mr Birling, Mrs Birling, their daughter Sheila Birling, their son Eric Birling and Sheila’s fiancé Gerald Croft. The family are at home holding a celebration when Inspector Goole enters the festivities by informing the family of the passing of a young girl named Eva Smith. Goole then continues to uncover how each of the family members played their own part in the turn of events that led to the young girl’s situation, with the aim that the family may change their views on people in different social stations to themselves.
As the Inspector enlightens the upstanding family on the consequences of their actions, he may help them realise as human beings they need be kinder to those whom are in need, to inspire them to become better people. Since the play aired on 13th September, there may seem to have been a change in social opinion on the treatment of people whom are currently in need in British society. ‘An Inspector Calls’ may have gained a vast following of people who may be inspired to read the play and go on to watch the stage production, proving the play to be an all-round success in the media sphere.
Many fans have taken to Twitter and Facebook, expressing their thoughts on the dramatisation, which might have offered a productive debate on the important themes within the play. The dramatisation may have created new appreciation for actor David Thewlis as he performs his role with dignity, helping him rise in popularity and possibly encourage him to appear on television screens more often.
Many magazines and newspapers have taken up the meaning behind the play and translated it to modern times. Many fans have commented on the relevance of such a dated piece of writing to our modern day society whilst expressing how social situations have prevented change in the time. Others may have commented on how unique it seems that J.B. Priestly appeared to know the future for the country, even then when the First World War was about to start.
The general debate over the play appears to be productive, questioning people’s opinions on different topics and initiating new thoughts as to how people should to treat each other. This may prove just how much power entertainment has over the public, whether it be theatrical, television based, film based or literary based. Walt Disney once commented, “Movies can and do have tremendous influence in shaping young lives in the realm of entertainment towards the ideals and objectives of normal adulthood”, motivating generation after generation to make a difference and adapt society to new modern ideals through the different entertainment platforms. ‘An Inspector Calls’ may be considered a prime example of this as it may continue to enhance creative thinking and influence peoples day to day lives.
To watch ‘An Inspector Calls’, please visit: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p02z80kq/an-inspector-calls
To follow the theatre production, please see: https://twitter.com/aninspector?lang=en-gb
How does ‘An Inspector Calls’ themes, resonate in day to day life and might the public learn from it?