Lot 524


Estimate: £1,200 - £1,800
Hammer price: £1,200
Bidding ended. Lot has been sold.

Two director’s scripts of Willy Russell’s Screenplay, both 117 pp. of mimeograph typescript bound in red card covers: the first with title page dated 16th June, 1982, annotated in an unidentified hand next to the film’s title in pencil J <, additionally annotated top right in pencil 66 and in blue ballpoint 24 Section, with numerous pages of script amendments inserted on pink paper, the first two pink pages listing the amendments by page number and scene, one dated 21 July 1982, the other 13 August 1982, further pages of script amendments dated 30 June 1982 and 7 August 1982, numerous pages annotated in Gilbert’s hand; the second script undated, the title page annotated top right in pencil in an unidentified hand Lewis, and a further annotation in a different hand in blue ballpoint with contact details for ‘Drew’, the script similarly with numerous pages of script amendments inserted on pink paper, the first pink page listing the amendments by page number and scene, dated 21 July 1982, this script with fewer inserts than the first, some pages annotated in Gilbert’s hand, but less than the first script.

Willy Russell’s play Educating Rita was commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company and opened at The Warehouse in London in June 1980, moving to The Piccadilly Theatre in September of that year, before opening at the Liverpool Playhouse in February 1981 – Russell directed this production himself, the first time he had directed a play.  The RSC production ran in the West End for two and half years, since when it has never been out of production somewhere in the world.  Russell said of his work “I wanted to make a play which engaged and was relevant to those who considered themselves uneducated, those whose daily language is not the language of the university or the theatre. I wanted to write a play which would attract, and be as valid for, the Ritas in the audience as the Franks." 

On the strength of the rave reviews, Hylda Gilbert went to see the play whilst it was at the Warehouse, and on her urging, Lewis went to see it shortly afterwards when it opened at the Piccadilly Theatre.  Julie Walters starred as Rita in this original production opposite Mark Kingston as Frank.  In his autobiography, Gilbert recalls …..but up on that stage it was Julie’s show.  I thought it was wonderful and knew I had to get in touch with the author right away.


Literature:GILBERT, Lewis All My Flashbacks The Autobiography of Lewis Gilbert, Sixty Years A Film Director, Reynolds & Hearn, London, 2010

Bellmans is grateful to Wallace and Hodgson for their assistance with cataloguing the Lewis Gilbert Film Script and Production Archive.

Read more

Our website uses cookies, as almost all websites do, to help provide you with the best possible browsing experience.

Accept Read more