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April 12, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

The BBC has been forced to cancel a scheduled two-part broadcast of John Braine’s Room at the Top because of a dispute over the TV rights. A statement issued by the public broadcaster on Monday said that it is assessing “a potential contractual issue which emerged just a few days before the program was due to transmit.” Braine’s novel was adapted into a motion picture starring Lawrence Harvey and Simone Signoret in 1959. (It won an Oscar for Signoret.) The BBC had purchased TV rights to Blaine’s novel from his widow Pat, but a third party has emerged claiming that he or she now has the rights to it, the BBC said. Britain’s Guardian newspaper observed today (Tuesday) that such rights disputes occur frequently, particularly when they involve “creative people who led messy lives and allowed their affairs to fall into a chaotic state.” The newspaper commented, “Though it is no consolation to the frustrated producers and viewers, there is a certain neatness to the case turning on whether a book with this title may have been illegally sublet.”