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A Horseman Riding By (BBC Drama, Nigel Havers, Prunella Ransome)



Period drama serial A Horseman Riding By is based on R.F. Delderfield’s series of novels. It sees Paul Craddock (played by Nigel Havers in one of his first big starring roles) coming home from the Boer War and buying a run down country estate in Devonshire called Shallowford. As Squire, Craddock has to turn the run down and neglected estate into a going concern.

At first running into conflict with estate manager John Rudd (played by Glyn Houston) Craddock quickly comes to respect Rudd and the pair work together to turn the estate around. Paul also falls for the beautiful Claire Derwent (Prunella Ransome) and the pair get married.

Handesomely shot in the BBC’s classic serials vein A Horseman Riding By also features some familiar faces in the supporting cast including Pam St Clement (Eastenders), Joby Blanshard (Doomwatch), Forbes Collins (Poldark), and Madge Ryan.

TV Critic Philip Purser at the time bemoaned the sometimes less than lavish budget afforded the series with the clever comment “only one horseman you notice… and he was riding by”.

Cast: Nigel Havers as Paul Craddock; Glyn Houston as John Rudd; Prunella Ransome as Claire Derwent (later Craddock); Martin Fisk as Smut Potter; Pam St Clement as Meg Potter; Wendy Holloway as Violet; Sarah Porter as Elinor Codsall; Gillian McCutcheon as Maureen Rudd

Writers: Arden Winch, Alexander Baron, John Wiles / Books: R.F. Delderfield / Music: Max Harris / Producer: Ken Riddington

UK / BBC-1 / 13×50 minute episodes / 24 September – 17 December 1978

1. VALLEY FOR SALE (24 Sep 1978)
2. THE PARTY (1 Oct 1978)
4. A BIRTH AND A DEATH (15 Oct 1978)
5. THE STORM (22 Oct 1978)
6. THE HOLLOW VICTORY (29 Oct 1978)
7. THE LAST HOT SUMMER (5 Nov 1978)
8. CALL TO ARMS (12 Nov 1978)
9. DEATH OF A HERO (19 Nov 1978)
10. THE PROFITEERS (26 Nov 1978)
11. THE BAD SEASON (3 Dec 1978)
12. THE SERVICE (10 Dec 1978)
13. THE OLD AND THE NEW (17 Dec 1978)