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Real People (NBC 1979-1984, Fred Willard, Sarah Purcell)

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This hour-long series from Laugh-In creator George Schlatter had a unique hook for the viewing public: instead of presenting the antics of a star, it took the average Joe/Jane and made him/her the star. Real People combined audience participation with in-the-field human interest reporting, and this winning mixture turned what was originally intended as a limited-run series into a high-rated hit.

Each episode began in the studio with the show’s team of hosts interacting with the audience and asking them their opinions on various topics of the day. This Q&A was followed by a series of segments done by the show’s correspondents, chronicling the lives of people with unusual careers, hobbies and talents—a man who always walked backwards, a disco-dancing class designed for senior citizens, a woman who could put the tip of her nose in her mouth, and so on. These reports would be interspersed with mail from home viewers and pictures of oddly funny sights (silly names, double-entendre signs, newspaper and marquee typos) from all over the U.S.

The original line-up of hosts included Fred Willard, Sarah Purcell, John Barbour, Skip Stephenson, and Bill Rafferty. Byron Allen replaced Willard when the show became a regular series, but Willard would eventually return to the show in 1981. Each host divided his/her time between appearing in the studio portions of the show and doing on-the-road reporting. Child star Peter Billingsley (A Christmas Story’s Ralphie) was added in 1982 to address stories with kid-themed concerns.

Real People was truly ahead of its time. It proved that reality-based programming could be successful in prime time, paving the way for a host of imitators that included That’s Incredible and Those Amazing Animals. The regular-folk-on-TV fad died out by the mid-80’s (as did Real People), but it came back in a big way in the 90’s with shows like America’s Funniest Home Videos and any number of the Fox network’s “caught on video”-themed exposés.

production details
USA / NBC / x50 minute episodes / Broadcast 18 April 1979 – 4 July 1984

hosts
Fred Willard (1979,1981-83)
Sarah Purcell
John Barbour (1979-82)
Mark Russell
Skip Stephenson
Bill Rafferty
Byron Allen
Kerry Millerick (1982-83)
Peter Billingsley (1982-84)

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TV

Clochmerle (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 Clochmerle 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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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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