Eh Joe is a piece for television, written in English by Samuel Beckett, his first work for the medium. It was begun on the author's fifty-ninth birthday, 13 April 1965, and completed by 1 May. “It [was] followed by six undated typescripts (numbered 0 - 4 and ‘final version’).”Despite the English version being recorded first, due to delays at the BBC, the first actual broadcast was of Elmar and Erika Tophoven’s German translation, He Joe, on 13 April 1966, Beckett’s sixtieth birthday, by Süddeutscher Rundfunk, Stuttgart; Beckett directed, his first credit as such. Deryk Mendel played Joe and Nancy Illig voiced the woman.
An American production of Eh Joe was directed by frequent Beckett collaborator Alan Schneider, produced by Glenn Jordan and broadcast by PBS WNDT on 18 April 1966.The first English broadcast went out eventually on BBC2 (4 July 1966) with Jack MacGowran, for whom the play was specifically written, playing Joe (originally ‘Jack’ at the start of the first draft) and Siân Phillips as Voice. Beckett had asked for Billie Whitelaw but she was unavailable due to another acting commitment. Alan Gibson directed but with Beckett in attendance.
At least thirteen versions have been preserved on tape making it far and away Beckett's most produced teleplay.It was first published in Eh Joe and Other Writings (Faber, 1967) – although the version published is closer to Typescript 3, mentioned above, than the version as broadcast.
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date of publication: 1965
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