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C.A.T.S Eyes (ITV 1985-1987, Jill Gascoine, Leslie Ash)

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Charlie’s Angels’ all-American, all-women action team was a runaway success on British small screens from 1 977 to 1 982, but it was not until 1985 that ITV chiefs realised a similar formula was missing from home-grown product.

Enter the stiff-upper-lipped British version, C.A.T.S. Eyes: three gun-toting action women with a suitable history and sufficiently sensible hairstyles for native taste.

The trio worked for the Eyes Enquiry Agency – on the surface a run-of-the-mill investigation outfit, but actually a cover for the top-secret Home Office security squad known as C.A.T.S. (Covert Activities Thames Section). Leader of the three was Pru Standfast,a tall Oxford University graduate (and former student union president) with a War Office background.

Also on board was Maggie Forbes, played byjill Gascoine. Widowed ex-detective Forbes – with eighteen years’ police experience under her belt, five of them in CID – had been Britain’s first policewoman star in her own ITV series The Gentle Touch.

As well as her all-action job, as loyal viewers knew, Forbes had plenty of problems at home bringing up a teenage son single-handed. The third member of the team, and the youngest, was Frederika ‘Fred’ Smith, played by Leslie Ash.

Smith’s dual talents were driving at breakneck speed and a precocious flair for computers which had attracted attention in the Civil Service. Helping the women with their investigations was ‘man from the ministry’ Nigel Beaumont, their link to those in command.

The series was set up by a 90-minute pilot, ‘Goodbye Jenny Wren’, written by creator Terence Feely, in which Maggie Forbes joins the team on the day Jenny Cartwright, another team member, is killed.

From then on jewels, foreign scoundrels, the Mafia and Triads routinely supplied the cases, with specifically female interest supplied by a marriage racket using Asian girls, a woman terrorist, and (in season two) the need for Tessa Robinson to go undercover as a club barmaid while Maggie took the spotlight and sang the blues.

C.A.T.S. Eyes’ ratings never compared with those of glitzy precursor Charlie’s Angels, although season one was quality fare with high-calibre writers, directors and theme music (composed by John Kongos).

From season two on, however, there were major changes both in front of the camera (Maggie Forbes was promoted to leader and Pru Standfast was replaced by Tessa Robinson) and behind. Producers relied on an inferior creative team (and even a different theme tune), and the compromise was all too apparent on screen.

production details
UK / ITV – TVS / 30×60 minute episodes / Broadcast 12 April 1985 – 6 June 1987

Creator: Terence Feely / Theme Music: John Kongos / Executive Producer: Rex Firkin

cast
Jill Gascoine as Detective Inspector Maggie Forbes
Leslie Ash as Fred Smith
Don Warrington as Nigel Beaumont
Rosalyn Landor as Pru Standfast (season 1)
Tracy-Louise Ward as Tessa (season 2)

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Christmas Princess (UP 2017, Nicole Munoz, Zak Santiago)

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Christmas Princess Nicole Munoz

Christmas Princess is the true story of Donaly Marquez who, through a childhood of neglect and abuse, achieved her dream of becoming a rose bowl princess. An inspirational story of resilience, strength and finding a family to call your own.

cast
Nicole Muñoz as Donaly Marquez
Rosa Blasi as Sara
Zak Santiago as Ignacio Marquez
Olivia Steele Falconer as Emily Marquez
Jaedon Siewert as Abraham Marquez
Lina Renna as Young Donaly
Paloma Kwiatkowski as Chloe
Ty Wood as Trent
Pendo Muema as Monique
Kalyn Miles as Maria
Kaaren de Zilva as Roberta
Garfield Wilson as Dr. Miller
Clay St. Thomas as Judge #1
Patti Allan as Judge #2
Natalie von Rotsburg as Judge #3

crew details
Director: Allan Harmon
Writer: Tracy Andreen

production details
Country: Canada
Network and Production Companies: UP
Duration: 1×120 minute episode
Aired From: Sunday 10 December 2017

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Christmas Reunion, A (Lifetime 2015, Catherine Hicks, Denise Richards)

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A Christmas Reunion Lifetime

In A Christmas Reunion a Madison Avenue executive, Amy, discovers an unusual Christmas surprise when she inherits her Aunt’s hometown bakery. The real surprise comes when she learns the other half of the bakery was left to her long-ago boyfriend, Jack.

Unresolved personal issues resurface between them, as the exes return home to co-manage the store, along with its traditional holiday cookie bake-off.

cast
Denise Richards as Amy Stone
Patrick Muldoon as Jack Evans
Jake Busey as Dylan Carruthers
Catherine Hicks as Aunt Linda
Parker Stevenson as Don Dupree
Patricia De Leon as Janette Crowder
Jon Briddell as Luke Crowder
Robert R. Shafer as Frank O’Brien
Anna Barnholtz as Chloe
John Colton as Steve Evans
Sandra Evans as Shari
Brody Fitzgerald as Young Jack Evans
Michael Gaglio as Earl Pratt, Sr.
Gib Gerard as Earl Pratt, Jr.
Joyce Greenleaf as Helen

crew details
Director: Sean Olson
Writers: Margaret Base, Mary Glenn, Sam Irvin, Sean Olson, Peter Sullivan, Michael Varrat

production details
Country: USA
Network and Production Companies: Lifetime – Hybrid
Duration: 1×120 minute episode
Aired From: 13 December 2015

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TV

Final Vision (ID 2017, Scott Foley, Dave Annable)

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Final Vision ID

Final Vision is a twisted psychological thriller and a true-crime drama based on the longest running criminal case in U.S. history. It’s the story of Jeffrey MacDonald (Foley), a handsome, Ivy League-educated U.S. Army Green Beret doctor, who was convicted of brutally murdering his pregnant wife and two young daughters in the middle of the night.

Told through the eyes of best-selling author Joe McGinniss (Annable), who was approached by MacDonald to write a book about his personal nightmare as he was about to go to trial.

cast
Scott Foley as Jeffrey MacDonald
Dave Annable as Joe McGinniss
John Doman as Bernie Segal
Lochlyn Munro as Wade Smith
Jessica Harmon as Colette MacDonald
Caroline Aaron as Leslie Sterling
Primo Allon as MP Sergeant
Julia Maren Baker as Kimberly MacDonald
Julia Benson as Nancy McGinniss
Baylee Breen-Wood as Kristen MacDonald
April Cameron as Nurse at St. Mary’s
Aaron Craven as James Blackburn
Bruce Dawson as Doctor
Parveen Dosanjh as Woman at Party
Lane Edwards as Brian Murtagh

crew details
Writer: Denis O’Neill
Director:  Nicholas McCarthy
Executive Producers: Angela Bromstad, Christine Connor, Linda Berman S

production details
Country:  USA
Network and Production Companies: ID – Lincoln Square Productions
Duration: 1×120 minute episode
Aired From:  Sunday 10 December 2017

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