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TV

Blossom (NBC 1991-1995, Mayim Bialik, Joey Lawrence)

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Family-themed sitcoms usually present an idealized vision of family life—the ‘perfect’ family. These are your Cleavers, your Bradys, your Cunninghams, your Huxtables… But Blossom bucked this trend with its realistically dysfunctional TV family, the Russos.

Blossom was the youngest of the bunch at age thirteen, but often seemed to be the smartest and most mature of the group. She had two brothers: Anthony was a recovering drug addict, and Joey was a sweet-natured but slightly-dim hunk. Nick was their father, a session musician who was reeling from his recent divorce with their mother. Not officially a member of the family but just as close was Six, Blossom’s fast-talking best friend. Later additions to the cast included Buzz, the family’s grandfather, and Carol, a love interest for Nick who would eventually become his wife.

Blossom provided the viewers’ eyes and ears into the family situation. She kept a video ‘diary,’ pouring out her thoughts and feelings to a home video camera as she pondered the life lessons she and her family learned. An early gimmick in the show involved Blossom’s fantasies, during which she would get advice from celebrities like Little Richard, Phil Donahue, and even Alf. This aspect of the show was played down as the show progressed.

The episodes’ plotlines were often as unusual as the family itself, like the time when Blossom and Six tried to sell stolen toasters to raise the money they needed for expensive designer jeans. Grand schemes aside, the show often dealt with relevant teen social issues like teen sexuality, drug abuse, and peer pressure, and this angle made the show a big hit with pre-teen and teen girls. The show’s young female audience also loved teen-idol Joey Lawrence, who experienced some success as a recording artist thanks to his popularity on the show (his hit was “Nothin’ My Love Can’t Fix”).

Blossom was cancelled in June of 1995 after a five-season run on NBC. By this time, the star herself had blossomed into a mature young woman, and it was time to leave the video diary behind and move on.

production details
USA / NBC – Impact Zone Prod. – Touchstone – Witt-Thomas / 110×25 minute episodes 1×100 minute episode / Broadcast 3 January 1991 – 6 June 1995

Creator: Don Reo / Executive Producer: Gene Reynolds, Paul Junger Witt Tony Thomas, Don Reo

cast
Mayim Bialik as Blossom Russo
Michael Stoyanov as Anthony Russo
Ted Wass as Nick Russo
Joey Lawrence as Joey Russo
Jenna von Oÿ as Six LeMeure
Barnard Hughes as Buzz Richman (1991-93)
Portia Dawson as Rhonda Jo Applegate (1992-93)
Finola Hughes as Carol Russo (1994-95)
Courtney Chase as Kennedy (1994-95)
Kevin Jamal Woods as Frank (1994-95)
David Lascher as Vinnie Bonitardi (1992-93)
Gail Edwards as Sharon LeMeure (1991-93)
Samaria Graham as Shelley Russo (1993-95)
Megan McGinnis as Susan

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TV

Ape And Essence (The Wednesday Play BBC-1 1966, Alec McCowen)

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In Scifi drama Ape and Essence, based on the novel by Aldous Huxley, a group of New Zealand scientists conduct a survey on a Britain ravaged by atomic war 80 years previously.

Series: The Wednesday Play Season 2 Episode 29

cast
Alec McCowen as Alfred Poole
Robert Eddison as Arch Vicar
Derek Sydney as Chief
Jenny Lee as Flossie
Yvonne Antrobus as Young Girl
Sydney Bromley as Craigie
Martin Carroll as Director of Food
Hazel Douglas as Mies Hook
John Falconer as Patriarch
Petra Markham as Loola
Ken Parry as Science Praet
Amanda Reiss as Polly
Jonathan Scott as Int. Priest
Fiona Fraser as Part of Crowd
Ann Mitchell as Shaven-Head
Jacki Salt as Mulatto Girl
Carol Blake as Shaven-Head
Gordon Craig as Part of Crowd
Robert Cude as First Man

crew details
Writer: John Finch
Book: Aldous Huxley
Music: BBC Radiophonic Workshop
Producer: Peter Luke
Director: David Benedictus.

production details
Country: UK
Network and Production Companies: BBC One
Duration: 1×75 minute episode
Aired From: 18 May 1966

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TV

Plane Makers, The (ITV 1963-1965, Patrick Wymark, Barbara Murray)

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Plane Makers Patrick Wymark

Drama series The Plane Makers took us behind the scenes in the boardroom and shop floor of the Scott Furlong Aircraft Factory. After two seasons the lead character John Wilder took a place on the board of a merchant bank and the series was then renamed The Power Game.

cast
Patrick Wymark as John Wilder
Jack Watling as Don Henderson
Barbara Murray as Pamela Wilder (Seasons 1-2)
Ann Firbank as Pamela Wilder (Season 3)
Reginald Marsh as Arthur Sugden
Alan Dobie as David Corbett

crew details
Creator: Wilfred Greatorex
Producers: Rex Firkin (seasons 1-2), David Reid (season 3)

production details
Country: UK
Network: ITV – ATV
Duration: 57×50 minute episodes
Aired From: 4 February 1963 – 12 January 1965 black and white

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TV

Running Wild (ITV 1987, Ray Brooks, Janet Key)

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Sitcom Running Wild was about the ups and downs of separated couple, Max and Babs, trying to get on with their lives. In season two Max wants to return to his wife but Babs is not so keen.

cast
Ray Brooks as Max Wild
Janet Key as Babs Wild
Sharon Duce as Wanda
Michelle Collins as Stephanie Wild
Peter Amory as Rob
Berwick Kaler as Tom Coleman (Season 1)
Brigit Forsyth as Jenny (Season 2)

crew details
Writer: Philip Trewinnard
Producers: Marcus Plantin (Season 1), Derrick Goodwin (Season 2)
Directors: Vic Finch (Season 1), Derrick Goodwin (Season 2)

production details
Country: UK
Network and Production Companies: ITV – London Weekend Television
Duration: 13×25 minute episodes
Aired From: 6 March 1987 – 4 June 1989

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