TV UK TV

Spearhead (ITV 1979, Michael Billington, Roy Holder)

Spearhead

The highly charged (often literally) and dramatic Spearhead focused on incidents of a group of soldiers in Six Platoon, B Company Wessex Rangers, in Ulster (season one), Germany (season two) and Hong Kong (season three) as well as back at home in Britain.

As the series opens Colour Sergeant “Jacko” Jackson is offered the chance to take command of six platoon, a role normally reserved for an officer, the first episode is concerned with the Platoon on patrol in Northern Ireland, made at a time when the IRA were of course still very much active, in fact Ulster TV refused to transmit the episode because of concerns over content.

Later the action switched to Germany and then with a title change to Spearhead in Hong Kong the platoon headed far overseas. Sgt Bilinski would become more prominent as the series progressed.

Always strong on drama and action Spearhead has been somewhat forgotten these days but was a far better show for example than something like Soldier, Soldier which traversed similar ground.

The second season was unofficially known as Spearhead In Germany and the third season was officially known as Spearhead in Hong Kong.

production details
UK / ITV – Southern / 19×50 minutes / Broadcast 18 1978 – 30 July 1979 and 30 July – 27 August 1981

Format: Nick McCarty / Creator: Simon Theobolds / Theme Music: Anthony Isaac / Executive Producer: Lewis Rudd / Producer: James Ormerod

Season 1: 18 July – 29 August 1978
Season 2: 18 June – 30 July 1979
Season 3: 30 July – 27 August 1981 (the final two episodes in this season were also shown on the same evening.

cast
MICHAEL BILLINGTON as Colour Sgt Jackson
JACQUELINE TONG as Mary Jackson
STAFFORD GORDON as Company Sgt Major Gilby
ROY HOLDER as Sgt Bilinski
MARTYN JACOBS as Lt Pickering
GEORGE SWEENEY as Private Twiss
CHARLES CORK as Private Gadd
PETER TURNER as Private (later Lance Corporal) Adams
GORDON CASE as Private Mayhoe
TIM SWINTON as Private Yates
STEPHEN LEIGH as Private Tompkins
PAUL KEOWN as Private Hopkins
LAWRENCE DAVIDSON as Major Taylor
BRIAN ANTHONY as Captain Simmons

Additional cast for season three
HOWARD BARNES as Private Cobbold
SHAUGHAN SEYMOUR as Major Pitt
ROBIN DAVIES as Coporal Box
CHUA KAH JOO as Private Ling
NICHOLAS LYNDHURST as Private Wilson
PETER LOVSTROM as Lance Corporal Glass
GLYN GRIMSTEAD as Private Meadows

THE EPISODES
SEASON ONE 18 July – 29 August 1978
1. SUSPECT (18 jul 78)
2. LEAVE (25 Jul 78)
3. LOYALTIES (1 Aug 78)
4. JACKAL (8 Aug 78)
5. BOTH ENDS AGAINST THE MIDDLE (15 Aug 78)
6. THIEVES IN THE NIGHT (22 Aug 78)
7. TRUTH GAMES (29 Aug 78)

SEASON TWO 18 June – 30 July 1978
1. NEW BROOMS (18 Jun 79)
2. MATRIMONY (25 Jun 79)
3. PRESSURES (2 Jul 79)
4. LEAVE TAKERS (9 Jul 78)
5. REPERCUSSIONS (16 Jul 79)
6. WAITING GAMES (30 Jul 79)

SEASON THREE 30 July – 27 August 1981
1. NIGHT GAMES (30 Jul 81)
2. HAVE A HAPPY DAY (6 Aug 81)
3. ANOTHER HAPPY DAY (13 Aug 81)
4. THE MACAU CONNECTION (20 Aug 81)
5. LOYALTIES (27 Aug 81)
6. FUTURES (27 Aug 81)