Well to do James Hadleigh was one of the smoothest people on television in the 1970’s, even giving Jason King a run for his money in the urbane stakes.
Growing out of an earlier series called Gazette (this series introduced the character of James Hadleigh and was about the workings of a newspaper that Hadleigh inherited from his recently deceased father), the show focuses on James Hadleigh after he inherits Melford Park and its large and busy estate. Over the course of the series Hadleigh learns how to run the estate, gets married to the beautiful but feisty Jennifer and generally does his best to turn Melford Park into a profitable concern.
The first season continues with the Gazette style quite a bit. Susan Jackson, who was a reporter for the paper, was a major part of the first season. Hadleigh had always fancied her (she was quite a bit younger than him too) and made a play for her as Hadleigh opened. They got engaged during the first few episodes but by the end of the season the affair had fizzled out and Susan had decided to take a job with a London paper.
Season two continued in much the same vein, mid-way through the season James got a new love interest in the shape of Accountant Anne Hepton (played by Jane Merrow). Anne was still married (but separated) to husband Freddy who made a nuisance of himself in a couple of episodes during the season and in the penultimate episode of the season, Breakdown, Hadleigh found himself accused of being the other party when Freddy went for custody of his and Anne’s daughter Charlotte in a bitter divorce case.
Season three’s key plot points included Hadleigh and new wife Jennifer getting to grips with married life, including a major argument mid way through the run, the heart of the matter being that there is always something more important in Hadleigh’s life than anything else – Medford Park. Jennifer’s father Charlie also has quite a few run ins with Hadleigh. Quite a few of the storylines are almost stand alone episodes, with a few continuing threads peppered through them, such as Hadleigh and Jennifer wondering about the activities of their mysterious manservant Sutton and Hadleigh trying to help out his god-daughter who is having problems at school.
In the fourth season its a time of enormous change for Hadleigh, not only is his marriage on the verge of collapse, Jennifer spends much of the season in the United States (Hilary Dwyer who played Jennifer had clearly either been unavaible or unwilling to commit to this season) and it almost looks like Hadleigh could even lose the estate itself. Other key plot lines see James paying a visit to Hong Kong to sell a diamond and also a film company taking over the Hall.
Made for Yorkshire TV Hadleigh is a strong drama series, very typical of the 1970’s, strong plotting and time for storylines to unroll naturally.
Hadleigh had a Rolls Royce and also drove a classy white Monteverdi 3.75l.
There was a two year gap between the second and third seasons and an even longer two and half year gap between seasons three and four.
UK / ITV – Yorkshire / 52×50 minute episodes / Broadcast 16 September 1969 – 28 May 1976
Creator: Robert Barr / Script Editor: Alfred Shaughnessy / Theme Music: Allan Moorhouse (seasons 1 and 2), Tony Hatch (from season 3) / Executive Producers: Peter Willes (season 3), David Cunliffe (season 4) / Producer: Terence Williams (seasons 1 and 2), Jacky Stoller (Season 3)
Gerald Harper as James Hadleigh
Gillian Wray as Susan Jackson (season 1)
Jane Merrow as Anne Hepton (season 2)
Alastair Hunter as Maxwell
Ambrosine Phillpotts as Lady Helen Hadleigh
Hilary Dwyer as Jennifer (season 3)
Jenny Twigge as Joanna Roberts (season 4)
SEASON ONE 16 September – 9 December 1969
1. THANKS FOR THE OFFER (16 Sep 69)
2. THE WRONG SIDE OF THE HILL (23 Sep 69)
3. AN EXCELLENT THING FOR THE DISTRICT (30 Sep 69)
4. SOME YOU WIN SOME YOU LOSE (7 Oct 69)
5. PATRON OF THE ARTS (14 Oct 69)
6. IF YOU CAN’T BEAT ‘EM… (21 Oct 69)
7. THE RING (28 Oct 69)
8. THE DAY OF THE MIURAS (4 Nov 69)
9. A MEMORY OF TIME PAST (11 Nov 69)
10. SAFETY OF THE REALM (18 Nov 69)
11. M.Y.O.B. (25 Nov 69)
12. FOR THOSE IN PERIL (2 Dec 69)
13. THE DINNER PARTY (9 Dec 69)
SEASON TWO 8 January – 2 April 1971
1. INVASION (8 Jan 71)
2. EXPOSURE (15 Jan 71)
3. RING OF FIRE (22 Jan 71)
4. BOW TO THE LADY (29 Jan 71)
5. A QUIET PLACE IN THE COUNTRY (5 Feb 71)
6. A LETTER TO DAVID (12 Feb 71)
7. NICOLA PENN (19 Feb 71)
8. OPEN VERDICT (26 Feb 71)
9. THE DIPLOMAT (5 Mar 71)
10. ABSOLUTELY FEUDAL (12 Mar 71)
11. THE SEALED OFFER (19 Mar 71)
12. BREAKDOWN (26 Mar 71)
13. WHOSE LIFE IS IT? (2 Apr 71)
SEASON THREE 22 June – 14 September 1973
1. FIRST IMPRESSION (22 Jun 73)
2. SECOND THOUGHTS (29 Jun 73)
3. THE LAST RENT DINNER (6 Jul 73)
4. A TALE OF TWO PAINTINGS (13 Jul 73)
5. STRAINED RELATIONS (20 Jul 73)
6. MRS PAIGE (27 Jul 73)
7. GENTLEMEN AND PLAYERS (3 Aug 73)
8. MISHAPS (10 Aug 73)
9. THE CAPER (17 Aug 73)
10. THE GODDAUGHTER (24 Aug 73)
11. FAMILY FEELING (31 Aug 73)
12. DEPARTURES (7 Sep 73)
13. TOUCH AND GO (14 Sep 73)
SEASON FOUR 5 March – 28 May 1976
1. THE STORY OF A PANIC (5 Mar 76)
2. GOD SAVE US FROM THE MORALISTS (12 Mar 76)
3. BLOODLINE (19 Mar 76)
4. ECHOES (26 Mar 76)
5. DIVORCE (2 Apr 76)
6. THE CHARM FACTOR (9 Apr 76)
7. FILM STORY (16 Apr 76)
8. HONG KONG ROCK (23 Ap 76)
9. A HOUSEHOLD OF GAMBLERS (30 Apr 76)
10. TIME OUT (7 May 76)
11. INCIDENT (14 May 76)
12. FAVOURS (21 May 76)
13. BROKE (28 May 76)