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Special Branch (ITV 1969-1974, Derren Nesbitt, Patrick Mower)

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Hard hitting crime drama series Special Branch introduced us to a new breed of cop, one who didn’t just focus on the average crime but served as a kind of conduit between the police and the secret service.

When the series begins focus is on Inspector Jordan, who was a cop with some of the glamour of a secret agent. He and his team dealt with situations that threatened national security. Storylines included such fare Russian VIPs in need of protection strange thefts at British Embassies, bomb plots against oil sheikhs and the ever-present threat of the KGB (although a nod in the direction of contemporary concerns also brought in hippie encampments and German student revolutionaries).

In the opening episode of the series, Troika, Special Branch make a serious error involving a Russian spy who manages to escape back to the Soviet Union. The fallout continues across most of the first season, first with an enquiry and eventually with Superintendent Eden being shunted out of the SB, despite being cleared of all wrong-doing. This paved the way for the arrival in episode 10 of new boss Detective Superintendent Inman played by Fulton Mackay. The opening titles also changed at the same time.

The first two seasons were standard interior videotape/exterior film episodes made in house by Thames but seasons three and four saw production company Euston team up with Thames to make their first all shot on film series. This would very quickly become the norm for all future Thames-Euston productions, not least The Sweeney and Minder.

Special Branch Classic TV Revisited

Hip Derren Nesbitt who starred as Jordan in the first two seasons was replaced for season three onwards by Patrick Mower as equally cool Tom Haggarty and the straighter D.C.I Alan Craven.

Patrick Mower followed up this series with a similar vehicle called Target – this time for the BBC. The series is classic Thames, lots of great writers on board including Public Eye’s Roger Marshall, John Brason, Michael J. Bird, Ray Jenkins, Ian Kennedy Martin, Trevor Preston, Martin Worth etc.

production series
UK / ITV – Thames – Euston / 53×60 minute episodes / Broadcast 17 September 1969 – 9 May 1974

Series Editor: George Markstein / Theme Music: Norman Kay (season 1) / Robert Earley (from season 2) / Executive Producers: Lloyd Shirley, George Taylor

cast
Wensley Pithey as Superintendent Eden (season 1 first 9 episodes)
Derren Nesbitt as Detective Chief Inspector Jordan (seasons 1-2)
Keith Washington as Detective Constable Morrissey
Jennifer Wilson as Detective Sergeant Helen Webb
Morris Perry as Charles Moxon (seaons 1-2)
Fulton Mackay as Detective Chief Superintendent Inman (end of season 1 and season 2)
George Sewell as Detective Chief Inspector Alan Craven (seasons 3-4)
Roger Rowland as Detective Sergeant Bill North (season 3)
Patrick Mower as Detective Chief Inspector Tom Haggarty (seasons 3-4)
Paul Eddington as Strand (season 4)
Frederick Jaeger as Commander Fletcher (season 4)

THE EPISODES
SEASON ONE 17 September – 17 Dec 1969
1. TROIKA (17 Sep 69)
2. SMOKESCREEN (24 Sep 69)
3. THE PROMISED LAND (1 Oct 69)
4. A DATE WITH LEONIDAS (8 Oct 69)
5. THE KAZMIROV AFFAIR (15 Oct 69)
6. A NEW FACE (22 Oct 69)
7. YOU DON’T EXIST (29 Oct 69)
8. THE CHILDREN OF DELIGHT (5 Nov 69)
9. RELIABLE SOURCES (12 Nov 69)
10. SHORT CHANGE (19 Nov 69)
11. EXIT A DIPLOMAT (26 Nov 69)
12. CARE OF HER MAJESTY (3 Dec 69)
13. VISITOR FROM MOSCOW (10 Dec 69)
14. TIME BOMB (17 Dec 69)

SEASON TWO 11 August – 4 November 1970
1. INSIDE (11 Aug 70)
2. DINNER DATE (18 Aug 70)
3. DEPART IN PEACE (25 Aug 70)
4. MISS INTERNATIONAL (1 Sep 70)
5. WARRANT FOR A PHOENIX (8 Sep 70)
6. THE PLEASURE OF YOUR COMPANY (16 Sep 70)
7. NOT TO BE TRUSTED (23 Sep 70)
8. BORDERLINE CASE (30 Sep 70)
9. LOVE FROM DORIS ((7 Oct 70)
10. SORRY IS JUST A WORD (14 Oct 70)
11. ERROR OF JUDGEMENT (21 Oct 70)
12. REPORTED MISSING (28 Oct 70)
13. FOOL’S MATE (4 Nov 70)

SEASON THREE 4 April – 4 July 1973
1. A COPPER CALLED CRAVEN (4 Apr 73)
2. ROUND THE CLOCK (11 Apr 73)
3. INQUISITION (18 Apr 73)
4. ASSAULT (25 Apr 73)
5. POLONAISE (2 May 73)
6. RED HERRING (9 May 73)
7. DEATH BY DROWNING (16 May 73)
8. ALL THE KING’S MEN (23 May 73)
9. THREAT (6 Jun 73)
10. THE OTHER MAN (13 Jun 73)
11. YOU WON’T REMEMBER ME (20 Jun 73)
12. HOSTAGE (27 Jun 73)
13. BLUEPRINT FOR MURDER (4 Jul 73)

SEASON FOUR 14 February – 9 May 1974
1. DOUBLE EXPOSURE (14 Feb 74)
2. CATHERINE THE GREAT (21 Feb 74)
3. JAILBAIT (28 Feb 74)
4. STAND AND DELIVER (7 Mar 74)
5. SOMETHING ABOUT A SOLDIER (14 Mar 74)
6. RENDEZVOUS (21 Mar 74)
7. SOUNDS SINISTER (28 Mar 74)
8. ENTENTE CORDIALE (4 Apr 74)
9. DATE OF BIRTH (11 Apr 74)
10. INTERCEPT (18 Apr 74)
11. ALIEN (25 Apr 74)
12. DIVERSION (2 May 74)
13. DOWNWIND OF ANGELS (9 May 74)

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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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BBC 2 Logo

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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TV

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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