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Champions, The (ITV 1968-1969, Stuart Damon, Alexandra Bastedo)

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One of the prime ITC action adventure series, The Champions channels Lost Horizon and Department S to come up with a brilliant spin on the format.

The three stars, Damon, Bastedo and Gaunt play a trio of special agents working for international peace agency Nemesis, however this trio is not just any ordinary bunch of globetrotting agents but a trio of agents with some pretty special powers, following a plane crash in the Himalayas whilst en route to a mission in China the trio are saved by a wizened old man from a reclusive Tibetan civilisation who endow them with a little bit extra when compared to mr average joe, all of their senses have been heightened and they have more strength and stamina as well as some telepathic abilities.

Of course this makes them perfect agents for Nemesis, following orders issued by their boss Tremayne, who was based in Geneva (ie the ITC studios), the team trotted around the globe averting disaster and investigating potential trouble spots.

Like all of the great ITC series The Champions has that glossy slick style, shot on film with one eye on the American market but also with that rear projection standing in for exotic locales vibe that ITC loved.

Some great supporting actors crop up throughout the episodes too including the likes of Peter Wyngarde, Bernard Lee, Donald Sutherland and Paul Eddington. A great show when it was made in the late sixties and still superior television now.

Note that broadcast dates above are for the ATV region. At the time The Champions was made ITV was still somewhat disjointed with not all regions bothering to broadcast some shows or at a later date or incomplete. ATV, thanks to chairman Lew Grade’s bringing his production company ITC under the ATV banner, generally were one of the few ITV companies to ensure a complete run of episodes for any ITC series.

production details
UK / ITV – ITC – Film-Makers / 30×60 minute episodes / Broadcast 25 September 1968 – 30 April 1969

Creators: Monty Berman, Dennis Spooner / Script Supervisor: Dennis Spooner / Theme Music: Tony Hatch / Producer: Monty Berman

cast
Stuart Damon as Craig Stirling
Alexandra Bastedo as Sharron Macready
William Gaunt as Richard Barrett
Anthony Nicholls as Lawrence Tremayne

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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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