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A Soft Touch (ITV Sitcom, Maureen Lipman)

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In one season sitcom A Soft Touch Alison Holmes (Maureen Lipman) tries to keep her dreaming unemployed husband Jack’s (John Flanagan) feet on the ground.

Guest stars included Mark Burdis, Maria Charles, Ken Morley, Peter Skellern (who also composed the theme music), Robert Gillespie, John Barrett, Doug Fisher and Christopher Jagger.

The TV Times of the week of 29 Jul 1978 (the week of the show’s premiere) featured a profile of John Flanagan, focusing on the fact that Flanagan, having appeared as policeman in Parkin’s Patch, Softly Softly, The Sweeney, Public Eye and Thriller as well as barrister in Crown Court, was for once happy to being playing comedy.

The Coventry Evening Telegraph of Monday 31 Jul 1978 featured a preview of the series: This will run, or sink, in six episodes on ATV and centres around two people who are selling their house. Correction: she is selling the house. He doesn’t really want to. In fact he doesn’t want to do anything except a career in show business. Meanwhile, until the world recognises his “talent,” his wife is the main breadwinner as a children’s book illustrator. The couple are played by John Flanagan and Maureen Lipman who regard themselves as character actors rather than comedy players and have worked together on previous occasions.

The Aberdeen Evening Express of Mon 7 Aug 1978 previewed the fifth episode: “Hi there Pop Pickers” is the title tonight’s episode of ‘“A Soft Touch.” And, as the title suggests, it has something to do with disc jockeys and radio. Jack Holmes (John Flanagan) thinks that being a disc jockey is just money for old rope, and is convinced that he could be Stoke Newington’s answer to Tony Blackburn, Kenny Everett and John Peel all rolled into one. Unfortunately, Jack’s ambitions are thwarted in a most unusual way. Without his knowledge Alison (Maureen Lipman) has taken in some Japanese paying guests, and after they have Visited Capital Radio as part their sight seeing, one the tourists turns out to a better DJ than Jack.

Cast: Maureen Lipman (Alison Holmes), John Flanagan (Jack Holmes)

Writer: Connor Fraser / Music: Peter Skellern / Producer and Director: Les Chatfield

UK / ITV – ATV / 6×30 minute episodes / Broadcast 31 July – 18 September 1978 Mondays 8.00pm