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Head of the Class (ABC 1986-1991, Howard Hesseman, Billy Connolly)

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After his turn as America’s favorite burnt-out DJ on WKRP in Cincinnati, Howard Hesseman returned to TV as Charles Moore, a struggling actor and substitute teacher assigned to take over the Individual Honors Program at New York’s Millard Fillmore High School. Series co-creator Rich Eustis had actually worked as a New York City substitute while hoping to become an actor, incidentally.

Watching down on Charlie from above (meaning the office, not heaven) were Dr. Harold Samuels, the school’s principal who constantly put pressure on the kids to win academic contests, and assistant principal Bernadette Meara. And though the kids didn’t seem to socialize with other students in the school, they didn’t all necessarily get along with each other either. Darlene stood out as preppy snob, who often rejected the advances of tough guy genius Eric Mardian. Darlene’s male counterpart in snobbery was Alan Pinkard; Maria Borges was the grade-obsessed over achiever who eventually transferred to a performing arts high school; the prototypical nerd was Arvid Engen, and Arvid’s best pal was science jock Dennis Blunden.

Simone was the quiet, literary-minded girl (who eventually had an unlikely flirtation with Eric), and Sarah was her artistic friend. Around for the first three seasons were Indian student Jawarhalal Choudhury and twelve-year-old prodigy Janice Lazarotto, who eventually left to attend Harvard. Joining the class in its later years were Vicky Amory, Alex Torres, De’voreaux White, Aristotle McKenzie, Jasper Kwong and inner-city student T.J. Jones.

The kids may have been geniuses, but they didn’t always know which bubbles to darken on that great Scan-Tron test sheet we call life. There were plenty of disappointments—both academic and romantic—but Mr. Moore was always there to play counselor as much as he played teacher. There were lessons on tolerance (after a mock court session Eric dubbed “Twelve Angry Nerds”), academic integrity (after that same bad boy Eric invented a story to win a journalist’s prize), and above all, learning to get along. The kids had a thing or two to teach Charlie as well, by the way: In one episode, Charlie got a big ego deflation when, after grilling each of the girls in the class as to who had developed a crush on him, he discovered it was really Dennis’ computer.

Head of the Class

Billy Connolly took over the lead toward the end of the show’s run.

After the fourth year, Mr. Moore, who had finally landed an acting gig, left his job as a teacher and was replaced by Billy MacGregor, played by comedian Billy Connolly. After the show’s cancellation in 1991, Connolly reprised the character on the short-lived 1992 sitcom Billy.

Head of the Class was notable for its diverse cast made up of characters of different ethnicities, and in 1988, it became the first prime time series to film as episode in the Soviet Union when the kids took on their Soviet counterparts in a battle of wits. In a nod to Glasnost, the match ended in a draw. Once more, the brainiacs point the way to a better future for all of us…

production details
USA / ABC – Eustis Elias Prod./ 112×25 minute episodes 1×50 minute episode / Broadcast 17 September 1986 – 15 January 1991

Creator/Executive Producers: Rich Eustis, Michael Elias / Producer: Alan Rosen

cast
Howard Hesseman as Charlie Moore (1986-90)
William G Schilling as Dr Harold Samuels
Billy Connolly as Billy MacGregor (1990-91)
Jeannetta Arnette as Bernadette
Michael DeLorenzo as Alex (1989-91)
Dan Frischman as Arvid
Robin Givens as Darlene
Khrystyne Haje as Simone Foster
Tony O’Dell as Alan
Lara Piper as Viki
Tannis Vallely as Janice (1986-89)
Jory Husain as Jawaharlal (1986-89)
Leslie Bega as Maria (1986-89)
Rain Pryor as T J (1988-91)
Brian Robbins as Eric
Kimberly Russell as Sarah
Dan Schneider as Dennis
De’voreaux White as Aristotle
Jonathan Ke Quan as Jasper (1990-91)

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Copper’s End (ITV 1971, Bill Owen, Josephine Tewson)

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Sitcom Coppers End was very much from the Will Hay  (and Ask A Policeman in particular) school of comedy; When the series began the boys at the station led by Sergeant Stan Short, had the art of doing nothing down to a tee, so much so that they were even able to hire out their squad car for all manner of weddings, driving lessons and even stock car racing. All until the arrival of the super efficient W.P.S. Penny Pringle that is.

cast
BILL OWEN as Sgt Sam Short
RICHARD WATTIS as PC Eddie Edwards
GEORGE MOON as PC Chipper Collins
JOSEPHINE TEWSON as WPS Penny Pringle
ROYCE MILLS as PC Dinkworth
GEORGE MOON as Ch Supt Ripper

crew details
Creator: Ted Willis
Producer: Shaun O’Riordan
Director: John Sichel

production details
Country: UK
Network and Production Companies: ITV – ATV
Duration: 13×25 minute episodes
Aired From: 19 February – 14 May 1971

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Conjugal Rights (ITV 1993-1994, Gwen Taylor, Michael Williams)

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Conjugal Rights

Sitcom Conjugal Rights detailed the ups and downs of middle-class, middle-aged married couple Gen and Barry.

cast
GWEN TAYLOR as Gen
MICHAEL WILLIAMS as Barry
STEPHEN MOORE as Philip
CORDELIA BUGEJA as Gillian
MAGGIE HENDERSON as Pam
WARREN MITCHELL as Voice of Toby the Dog (Season 1)
CHRIS ELLISON as Voice of Toby (Season 2)

crew details
Writer: Roger Hall
Producers: Humphrey Barclay, Justin Greene

production details
Country: UK
Network and Production Companies: ITV – Granada – Humphrey Barclay
Duration: 13×25 minute episodes
Aired From: 16 April 1993 – 17 June 1994

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Christmas Story, A (Fox 2017, Maya Rudolph, Matthew Broderick)

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A Christmas Story Fox 2017

A three-hour live television event, inspired by the holiday classic feature “A Christmas Story” and the Tony Award-nominated Broadway production “A Christmas Story: The Musical.”

Executive-produced by award-winning film, television and theater producer Marc Platt (“Grease: Live,” “La La Land”). The epic adaptation is filmed at the historic Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank.

cast
Maya Rudolph as Mother Parker
Matthew Broderick as Ralphie as an Adult
Jane Krakowski as Miss Shields
Chris Diamantopoulos as Old Man Parker
Santino Fontana as Off Camera Vocalist
Ana Gasteyer as Mrs. Schwartz
Andy Walken as Ralphie Parker
Laura Dickinson as Off Camera Vocalist
Sacha Carlson as Scut Farkus
Jessica Fontana as Off Camera Vocalist
Abigail Dylan Harrison as Louise
Artyon Celestine as Richie
Sammy Ramirez as Schwartz
Elie Samouhi as Grover Dill
Chris Mann as Off Camera Vocalist

crew details
Writers and Executive Producers: Jonathan Tolins, Robert Cary
Executive Producers: Marc Platt, Adam Siegel, Alex Rudzinski
Director and Executive Producer: Scott Ellis

production details
Country: USA
Network and Production Companies: Fox – Warner Horizon Television
Duration: 1×180 minute episode
Aired From: Sunday 17 December 2017 at 7.00pm

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