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Tenko (BBC-1 1981-1985, Ann Bell, Stephanie Beacham)

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Tenko was a BBC drama series set during World War II and hugely popular during its TV run in the early 1980’s. Tenko covered a subject that hadn’t really been covered before.

Opening in Singapore in 1941 it focuses on a group of women, from all walks of life, who find themselves rounded up by the invading Japanese when they invade. At first pushed from pillar to post they are forced to embark on a long trek accompanied by a trio of Japanese guards to a prison camp where they would sit out the war.

The women were mostly strong characters and were led by the somewhat stuffy Marion Jefferson (played by Ann Bell), also prominent were forthright Dutch nun Sister Ulrica, Dr Beatrice Mason, one of her nurses, the Australian Kate Norris and outspoken Rose Millar (Stephanie Beacham).

Initial location filming for the series took place in Singapore including scenes shot inside the famous Raffles hotel, the BBC then created a purpose built set amongst a gravel pit in Dorset. Studio shot interiors were also given that authentic sheen of the monsoon climate simply by turning the heating up and the air conditioning off.

Tenko

Series 2 picked up on the story in 1942 with the women led by the stalwart Marion Jefferson (played by Ann Bell) having to face a wearying hazardous march to a new camp, when the arrive at the their new camp they are surprised by how good the conditions are but are not pleased when they learn that the vile Verna Johnson (who is in charge of the women at the new camp) is overly nice to the Japs in order to maintain conditions.

The women have to now try and adjust to their new surroundings, no longer intent on escape but more concerned with plain survival, with one of the women, Dorothy, turning to prostitution with the guards.

Tenko

The third series saw a major change in style as the war ended and the women regained their freedom. Of course their world has changed so much that they cannot be the same people they were before and they all have trouble adapting to “real life” again.

By the end of episode two the camp has been liberated by the Australians and the girls are all but ready to lynch the Japanese (however the steadfast Marion Jefferson manages to restore some kind of English decency. Later the women are ensconced in luxury at the famous Raffles hotel getting used to being able to have baths with hot water and trying to discover the whereabouts of their families.

The elderly Joss gets heavily involved in setting up a health centre with the equally aged Stephen Wentworth (the legendary Preston Lockwood) Marion meanwhile is finding it hard to settle back into life as a wife (her husband Clifford is in charge of the hunt for war criminals) after having been the leader of the women at the camp. By series end the women are all going their separate ways but agree to meet five years later for a reunion at Raffles.

Series creator Lavinia Warner had hit upon the idea for Tenko whilst researching a This Is Your Life on real life internee Margo Turner and it’s easy to see why it became such a success, strong scripts featuring strong women, no wonder the cast loved working on it, there are so few outlets for female actresses at the best of times, Tenko of course provided a whole multitude of quality roles. In fact it would be fair to say that the series was the highlight of the careers of much of those involved in the series.

Tenko

26 December 1985 saw a 90 minute special set in the fifties and called Tenko Reunion, this did catch up with the girls five years later.

Two days before the first series began the BBC broadcast a 13 minute introduction to the show.

production details
UK / BBC One / 30×55 minute episodes 1×90 minute episode / Broadcast 22 October 1981 – 16 December 1985

Creator: Lavinia Warner / Script Editors: Evgeny Gridneff (seasons 1-20, Devora Pope (season 3) / Music: James Harpham / Producers: Ken Riddington (seasons 1 and 3), Vere Lorrimer (season 2),

cast
Ann Bell as Marion Jefferson
Stephanie Beacham as Rose Millar
Claire Oberman as Kate Norris
Stephanie Cole as Beatrice Mason
Jeananne Crowley as Nellie Keane
Patricia Lawrence as Sister Ulrica
Emily Bolton as Christina Campbell
Elizabeth Chambers as Mrs Van Meyer
Burt Kwouk as Captain Yamauchi
Eiji Kusuhara as Lieutenant Sato
Louise Jameson as Blanche Simmons
Renée Asherson as Sylvia Ashburton
Joanna Hole as Sally Markham
Veronica Roberts as Dorothy Bennett
Ann Queensberry as Judith Bowen
Karin Foley as Debbie Bowen
Takashi Kawahara as Shinya

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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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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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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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