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First Among Equals (ITV 1986, Tom Wilkinson, James Faulkner)

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Quite an epic scope for this 10 part drama series, First Among Equals follows a quartet of MP’s from their first days as sworn in MPs in 1964 right up to then present day (mid 1980’s).

All four have their hearts and minds set on becoming leader of the country but only one of the quartet will rise to become Prime Minister, along the way they will be touched by Scandal, dirty deals, bankruptcy and personal heartache.

The four were Andrew Fraser newly minted in the Labour party but with a Conservative background (his father was an MP too), lawyer Raymond Gould (also Labour), Charles Seymour (a typically wealthy Conservative with much to prove to himself) and Seymour’s chief rival and fellow Tory Simon Kerslake.

The early episodes dealing with the 1960’s really capture the flavour of the period well. Not quite Our Friends in the North but First Among Equals is easily the best of Archer’s novels and probably the one closest to his own heart and one that you can easily imagine whose plotlines came easily to him.

In fact many of them echo moments from his own career quite closely. There is probably a little too much emphasis on the conservative side of the political fence but that’s no surprise and the series does manage to include most of the key political moments of the previous two decades from the devaluing of the pound and the common market to the troubles in Northern Ireland.

production details
UK / ITV Network – Granada / 10×60 minute episodes / Broadcast 30 September – 2 December 1986

Writer: Derek Marlowe / Novel: Jeffrey Archer / Political Advisors: Tom McNally, Joan Lestor / Choreographer: Geraldine Stephenson / Music: Richard Harvey / Production Design: Alan Price, Chris Wilkinson / Executive Producer: Richard Everitt / Producer: Mervyn Watson / Directors: John Gorrie, Brian Mills

cast
TOM WILKINSON as Raymond Gould
JAMES FAULKNER as Simon Kerslake
DAVID ROBB as Andrew Fraser
JEREMY CHILD as Charles Seymour
ANITA CAREY as Joyce Gould
JANE BOOKER as Fiona Seymour
JOANNA DAVID as Elizabeth Kerslake
ANDREW KEIR as Sir Duncan Fraser
CLIVE SWIFT as Alec Pimkin

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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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