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Big Brother (ITV 1970, John Thaw, Robert Hardy)

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Big Brother ITV 1970

Big Brother was a 6 part anthology series from 1970 which took a look at how close Britain was to the 1984 world of George Orwell’s novel. How intrusive the government and it’s agencies had become in our lives at that time. Despite producer Wilfred Greatorex saying the series didn’t take its title from Orwell’s novel it certainly seemed to be a strong starting point.

For its premiere episode there was a two page TV Times article about the series based around how easy it was to find out info about one of the show’s directors Quentin Lawrence, and of course it was incredibly easy. Everything from an appearance in court over his dog “sheep-worrying” to the ages of his children. It would be an interesting exercise to see how much more info is available on the average person now.

The series had an interesting title sequence too, a silhouetted tiny figure trying to escape from computers, microphones and recorders. Put together by Tony Oldfield of the LWT graphics department.

Big Brother ITV 1970

Robert Hardy (left) and David Bauer in A Touch of the Jumbos – the final episode of the series.

Some regions (ATV amongst them) broadcast the show on Saturday evenings whilst others such as Anglia went for a Sunday evening broadcast.

Scripts were from the likes of Arden Winch, Robert Holles, Peter Draper, Adele Rose and two from Wilfred Greatorex. The casts were good too including such stalwarts as Peter Vaughan, Bernard Hepton, Faith Brook, Robert Hardy, Ronald Lacey, Alfred Burke, Hilary Tindall, Rudolph Walker, Paul Eddington and the great John Thaw.

UK / ITV – London Weekend Television / 6×50 minute episodes / Broadcast 29 August – 3 October 1970

Creator: Wilfred Greatorex

THE EPISODES
1. THE ELEVENTH COMMANDMENT
2. THE WIFE FACTOR
3. DYING GETS YOU NOWHERE
4. THERE’S ALWAYS A FIRST TIME
5. A LITTLE BIT LIKE GOD
6. A TOUCH OF THE JUMBOS