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Police Squad! (ABC 1982, Leslie Nielsen, Alan North)

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What can you say about a series that ultimately helped prolong the acting career of O.J. Simpson?

Actually, that dubious distinction aside, Police Squad! the series was most noteworthy for launching the successful Naked Gun trilogy. Ironically, though the series was filled with the same sight gags and non sequiturs as the films, the show died after a six-episode run.

The police-drama spoof, like the movies, starred Leslie Nielsen as Det. Frank Drebin. Each episode began with a “special guest star” getting killed during the opening credits: Lorne Greene and William Conrad were knifed and thrown from cars, Florence Henderson was shot, Robert Goulet was shot by a firing squad and William Shatner drank a glass of poisoned wine.

Other trademarks: an opening voice-over that read a different show title from the one shown onscreen and Drebin’s straightfaced babbling. (“Is this some kind of bust?” a woman asked. “Yes, ma’am, it’s very impressive, but we need to ask you a few questions.”)

Police Squad

So many visual jokes peppered each episode–like the police photog who takes a picture of an officer mugging for the camera with a corpse–that you needed a VCR to record and rewind in order to catch them all. After its ABC run spawned the Naked Gun movie series, CBS gave the show another shot in a July-through-September rerun of all six episodes in 1991. And though the movies continued to do well at the box office, ratings for the series were some kind of bust.

production details
USA / ABC – Paramount / 6×25 minute episodes / Broadcast 4 March – 4 September 1982

Creator and Executive Producers: Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker

cast
LESLIE NIELSEN as Det Frank Drebin
ALAN NORTH as Capt Ed Hocken
ED WILLIAMS as Ted Olson
WILLIAM DUELL as Shoe-Shine Johnny the Snitch

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Combat Sheep (BBC-1 2001, Steve Coogan, Ronni Ancona)

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Combat Sheep

One-off comedy film Combat Sheep detailed the comic adventures of four ex-army mascot sheep. Made using a mixture of live action and puppetry.

cast
STEVE COOGAN as Harris
RONNI ANCONA as Peaches
MARK WILLIAMS as Moose
KEVIN ELDON as Cooper
CHRIS ELLISON as Detective Inspector Hindle

crew details
Writer: Tim Firth
Additional material: Peter Baynham and Graham Duff
Executive Producers: Steve Coogan, Henry Normal
Producer: Robert Howes;
Director: Dominic Brigstocke.

production details
Country: UK
Network and Production Companies: BBC One – A Baby Cow Productions – Childrens Company
Duration: 1×30 minute episode
Aired From: 30 December 2001 at 5:35pm

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Clochemerle (BBC-2 1972, Cyril Cusack, Roy Dotrice)

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Clochmerle BBC 1972

Period sitcom, based on a novel by Gabriel Chevallier that was adapted by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson, that saw the French villagers of Clochemerle kick up a fuss over plans to install a new toilet.

cast
CYRIL CUSACK as Major Piechut
ROY DOTRICE as Ponosse
KENNETH GRIFFITH as Ernest Tafardel
WENDY HILLER as Justine Putet
HUGH GRIFFITH as Alexandre Bourdillat
BERNARD BRESSLAW as Nicholas the Beadle
MADELINE SMITH as Hortase Girodet
GEORGINA MOON as Rose Biraque
PETER USTINOV as Narrator

crew details
Writers: Ray Galton, Alan Simpson
Novel: Gabriel Chevallier
Producer: Michael Mills

production details
Country: UK
Network and Production Companies: BBC Two – Bavaria
Duration: 9×30 minute episodes
Aired From: 18 February – 14 April 1972 Fridays at 10.05pm

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Clairvoyant, The (BBC-2 1986, Roy Kinnear, Sandra Dickinson)

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In Roy Clarke penned sitcom The Clairvoyant used car salesman Arnold Bristow is knocked down in a car accident and suddenly finds himself with psychic powers – or so he believes. There was a pilot broadcast 27 Nov 1984.

cast
ROY KINNEAR as Arnold Bristow
SANDRA DICKINSON as Lily
HUGH LLOYD as Burma
SHAUN CURRY as Newton
GLYNIS BROOKS as Dawn
CARMEL CRYAN as Carmen

crew details
Writer: Roy Clarke
Producer and Director: Alan J.W. Bell

production details
Country: UK
Network and Production Companies: BBC-2
Duration: 6×30 minute episodes
Aired From: Pilot – 27 November 1984 and Series – 15 May – 19 June 1986

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