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Dark Shadows (ABC 1966-1971, Jonathan Frid, Joan Bennett)

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Soap Operas don’t come much more bizarre than Dark Shadows, in fact its safe to say that it was probably the worlds first supernatural soapie. Intended to be that way from the start the series began with Victoria Winters arriving in the town of Collinsport, Maine to act as a governess for David Collins at the family home of Collinwood.

The show really picked up with the arrival of Barnabus Collins on 14 April 1967, Barnabus just happened to be a centuries old vampire of course and with his coming the show began to move into the realms of time travel with for months sometimes the action shifting to the 1700’s.

Big plotlines included Dr Julia Hoffman trying to rid Barnabus of his ‘curse’; Victoria Winters being transported back to 1795 and later going insane. Another vampire Angelique also arrived in 1968 to play a major role and then later in the year Werewolf Chris Jennings also appeared. In 1969 a major storyline involved Barnabus travelling back to 1897 to try and help a werewolf descendant Quentin Collins.

The last two years of the show featured many parallel time storylines showing what might have happened if the characters had made different choices.

The show was pretty popular for most of its run and even garnered a top twenty hit single in 1968 with ‘Quentin’s Theme’. There were also two feature film spin offs House of Dark Shadows (1970) and Night of Dark Shadows (1971) and also in 1991 the series underwent a brief revival on NBC with Ben Cross as Barnabus and Lysette Anthony as Angelique.

Dark Shadows was videotaped rather than broadcast live, so all of the episodes are still extant but one thing the show got a reputation for was its on-air bloopers or gaffes, this was because the ABC execs of the time were heavy into cost cutting and refused to allow retakes, also the show was pretty effects laden (effects which often went wrong it must be said).

Dark Shadows

The show ended on 2 April 1971, it had been getting lower ratings for awhile and it was decided to replace it with a revival of the quiz show “Password”. Many viewers were most upset and there were hundreds of letters of protest to TV Guide who took the step of commissioning Sam Hall to write an article tying up all the loose ends left by the ending of the show. There is still an active fan club and there have numerous books and websites devoted to the show too.

The show has been seen in syndication since the late seventies and is also a regular part of the scifi channel’s line up. In 2012 a big screen adaptation starring Johnny Depp was made which sparked something of a revival of interest in the show once again.

production details
USA | ABC – Dan Curtis Productions / 2000+ x 30 minute episodes / Broadcast 27 June 1966 – 2 April 1971 and Broadcast Monday to Friday mostly at 4.00pm.

Creator: Dan Curtis

cast
Over the shows run the actors often played many different characters (in time travel and flashback scenes and so on), listed below are the principal cast members and the characters they were most noted for playing.
JONATHAN FRID as Barnabus Collins
JOAN BENNETT as Elizabeth Collins Stoddard
ALEXANDRE MOLTKE as Victoria Winters (1966-68)
GRAYSON HALL as Dr Julia Hoffman
LARA PARKER as Angelique (1968-70) and also as Catherine Harridge Collins (1971)
DAVID SELBY as Quentin Collins (1968-71)
KATHRYN LEIGH SCOTT as Maggie Evans (1966-70) and also Josette DuPres(1967-70)
DAVID HENESY as David Collins
JOEL CROTHERS as Joe Haskell (1966-69)
DAVID THAYER as Matthew Morgan (1966) and also Prof Timothy Eliot Stokes
KATE JACKSON as Daphne Herridge (1970-71)
DENISE NICKERSON as Amy Jennings (1968-70)

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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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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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