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Bill Brand (ITV 1976, Jack Shepherd, Cherie Lunghi)



Drama series about Northern lecturer Bill Brand who becomes a Labour MP, moves to London and finds that his new life is not all beer and skittles. His ideals lead him to very quickly ruffle a few feathers before he is taken under the wing of Employment minister David Last, becoming his Parliamentary Private Secretary. When Prime Minister Arthur Watson is taken ill it sparks off a whole raft of in-party fighting as Last attempts to take over. Brand learns the hard way that there are no easy solutions when it comes to politics.

A fabulous series with a stand out downbeat central performance from Jack Shepherd in a sea of fine performances from talents such as Alan Badel, Lynn Farleigh and a very young Cherie Lunghi. At the start of the series Brand is still married but having an affair with Lunghi’s right-on activist Alex Ferguson by the time he is ready to take up office in London a divorce is in the offing.

Written by the superb Trevor Griffiths (who found during the writing real life events within the Labour party echoing his own scripts) and directed by the likes of Michael Lindsay-Hogg and Roland Joffe, Bill Brand remains just as relevent and watchable today as it did on original broadcast in 1976. The only negative note in the whole thing (and this is just a quibble) would be that the tune seems a bit too upbeat considering that Brand himself is such a non-vibrant person.

Bill Brand

production details
UK / ITV – Thames / 11×60 minute episodes / Broadcast 7 June – 16 August 1976

Writer: Trevor Griffiths / Series Advisor: Lewis Minkin / Associate Producer: Michael Harvey / Music: Jack Trombey / Production Design: David Ferris, Harry Clark / Executive Producer: Stella Richman / Producer: Stuart Burge

Jack Shepherd as Bill Brand
Lynn Farleigh as Miriam Brand
Karen Silver as Jane Brand
Allan Surtees as Alf Jowett
Cherie Lunghi as Alex Ferguson
Dave Hill as Eddie Brand
Clifford Kershaw as Frank Hilton
Alan Badel as David Last
Harry Markham as Mr Brand
Anne Dyson as Mrs Brand
Colin Jeavons as Bernard Shaw
Geoffrey Palmer as Frear
Rosemary Martin as Winnie Scoular
John Barrett as Albert Stead
Ray Smith as Willie Moores
Peter Copley as Maddocks