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The White Guard

The Times, 21st September 1982, Dennis Hackett

The BBC had a definite Soviet slant last night. On BBC1 ‘Play of the Month’ was Mikhail Bulgakov’s ‘The White Guard’, reputed to be Stalin’s favourite play. He saw it again and again – odd, really, because it hankers after times past. It concerns a Ukrainian family caught up in the maelstrom following the First World War, whirled about by Ukrainian nationalists ands Tsarist opportunists and finally coming to earth to accept historical necessity with the Bolsheviks.

It was rather an off choice and very long – two and a half hours – but it had its moments. The cast, which included Michael Pennington, Nigel Havers, Laura Davenport, John Shrapnel and Nicholas Farrell, enjoyed it. I could tell.

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