Donald McWhinnie (1920 - 1987)

Mr Donald McWhinnie (Male)

Nationality: British

Born: 16 October 1920   Confidence Level  

Donald McWhinnie was a BBC executive and later a radio, television, and stage director. Educated at Rotherham Grammar School, McWhinnie worked for the BBC in administrative roles in the 1940s and 1950s and was drama Script Editor from 1951 to 1953. In the later 1950s, he became a radio director, and from the 1960s to the 1980s he was a director of television drama. McWhinnie, Frederick Bradnum, and Desmond Briscoe together established the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. In 1959, McWhinnie directed a production of Embers, a radio play by Samuel Beckett. In 1962, McWhinnie was nominated for a Tony Award for his screen version of Harold Pinter's The Caretaker. In 1965, he directed the first Broadway theatre production of the Bill Naughton comedy All in Good Time, which opened at the Royale Theatre, New York, on 18 February 1965 and closed on 27 March 1965. It starred Donald Wolfit, Marjorie Rhodes, and Richard Dysart. The inaugural episode of the BBC Television Shakespeare in December 1978 was announced to be Much Ado About Nothing, directed by McWhinnie and starring Penelope Keith and Michael York. The episode was shot at a cost of £250,000, edited, and announced as the first of the series, but then was suddenly pulled from the schedule and replaced with Romeo and Juliet. No reasons were given by the BBC, although newspaper reports suggested the episode had been postponed for re-shoots, due to worries that an actor's "very heavy accent" would be a problem for US audiences. However, there were no reshoots, the episode was abandoned and was later replaced by a new adaptation. It appears that the BBC management regarded the production as a failure.

Training and Education

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Other Names

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A Slight Ache (1959)

Creative | Producer (radio/television)


A Night Out (1960)

Creative | Producer (radio/television)


The Caretaker (Premiere: Arts Theatre) (1960)

Creative | Director


A Slight Ache (Stage Premiere: Arts Theatre) (1961)

Creative | Director


Talking of Theatre (1961)

Creative | Interviewee


The Caretaker (Streatham Hill Theatre and tour) (1961)

Creative | Director


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Linked Awards

Tony Award


For his screen version of Harold Pinter's The Caretaker.


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