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Praying Mantis (ITV 1982, Jonathan Pryce, Cherie Lunghi)

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In the stodgy eurothriller Praying Mantis (which is set mostly in the Normandy region of France) Professor Paul Canova has recently remarried to the glamorous Vera but he finds himself drawn into an affair with his new secretary Beatrice Manceau. However Beatrice has her own agenda and is also involved in a relationship with a friend of the professors called Christian Magny. Things become decidedly murky when Beatrice learns of Christian’s plot with Vera to murder Paul and make it look like a crime of passion (for which you cannot be tried under French law). Soon Beatrice, Christian and Vera are playing off against each other.

Has the same glossy style over substance look of most of the Portman productions of the 1980’s. The story, written by the excellent Philip Mackie, is highly intriguing and you are kept guessing as to just what is going on as every single character seems to have their own agenda but in the end its all far too convoluted, couple that with some particularly ordinary acting from people who you definitely expect more of and you have something of a misfire.

production details
UK / ITV – Portman / 2×75 minute episodes / Broadcast November 1982

Writer: Philip Mackie / Novel: Les Mantes Religieuses by Hubert Monteilhet / Music: Carl Davis / Photography: John Coquillon / Production Design: Robert Cartwright / Executive Producer: T.L. Donald / Producers: Ian Warren, Dickie Bamber / Director: Jack Gold

cast
JONATHAN PRYCE as Christian Magny
CHERIE LUNGHI as Beatrice Manceau
CARMEN DU SAUTOY as Vera Canova
PINKAS BRAUN as Professor Paul Canova
ANNA CROPPER as Gertrude
FRIEDRICH BON THUN as Insurance Director
ARTHUR BRAUSS as Richter
SARAH BERGER as Madeleine
KEVIN McNALLY as Bernard
DAVID SCHOFIELD as Cafe Waiter
MARGARET WARD as Madame Magny
RICHARD WARNER as Monsieur Magny
JONATHAN BLAKE as Raymond
JOHN BRYANS as Dubreuil
GORDON KANE as Sound Technician
BARBARA YOUNG as Solicitor’s Secretary
DEREK SMITH as Maitre Chardois
DOUGLAS WILMER as Maitre Fleury
PETER BLAKE as Dr Courant
JOBY BLANSHARD as Dr Laporte
CLIVE SWIFT as Dr Faure
DENYSE ALEXANDER as Alice
CAROL GILLIES as Convent Sister
RALPH SCHICHA as Rudi
GERARD HELY as Bank Cashier

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TV

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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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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