An RAF pilot starts his own airline in the immediate post-war years. In 1946 Jack Ruskin, demobbed after World War II but with flying still in his blood, struggled to find work with civilian airlines and so chanced his arm by founding his own. His partner in the new Ruskin Air Services was forces colleague Peter Witney. Operating with an old Dakota aircraft Ruskin had bought, they aimed to cut themselves a slice of the world cargo market. However, the business had difficulty getting off the ground, in more ways than one.
Ensnared by shady business deals and hampered by bad weather, Ruskin Air Services offered its staff and management an uncomfortable ride, as Jack lurched from one financial crisis to another. But his entrepreneurial spirit was not to be denied. He raised his sights, took on passenger transport and later became involved in the Berlin Airlift. Ernie Cade was the company’s dodgy backer, McEvoy was the company engineer and Jennie Shaw was Jack’s girlfriend. Tony Hatch provided the music.
Roy Marsden, Polly Hemingway (Marsden’s then real-life wife) and the whole Airline ethos was borrowed for a British Airports Authority commercial several years later, a move which brought an unsuccessful lawsuit from the show’s creator, Wilfred Greatorex.
UK / ITV – Yorkshire / 9×50 minute episodes / Broadcast 3 January – 28 February 1982
Creator:Wilfred Greatorex / Music:Tony Hatch / Producer:Michael Ferguson / Executive Producer: David Cunliffe / Aviation Advisor:Dick Millward
ROY MARSDEN as Jack Ruskin
RICHARD HEFFER as Peter Witney
SEAN SCANLAN as McEvoy
POLLY HEMINGWAY as Jeanie Shaw
TERENCE RIGBY as Ernie Cade
CHRISTOPHER GRAY as Albie Clarke
JEANNE WATTS as Mrs Shaw
1. LOOK AFTER NUMBER ONE
Flight Sergeant Jack Ruskin spends the final days of his wartime flying career bringing demobbed servicemen home from India. Meanwhile Sq Ldr Dickie Marlowe is intent on making his fortune by black market activities.
Writer: Wilfred Greatorex / Director: Michael Ferguson
guest cast: Anthony Valentine as Dickie Marlowe / Walter Gotell as Wing Cmdr / Graham Rees as Gray
2. BRAVE NEW WORLD
4. TOUCH AND GO
5. FOOLS’ ERRAND
6. CAPTAIN CLARKE PLUS ONE
7. NOT MUCH OF A LIFE
8. OFFICERS AND GENTLEMEN
9. TOO MANY PROMISES