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Flickers (ITV 1980, Bob Hoskins, Frances De La Tour)



In Flickers with cinema in it’s infancy at the start of the 20th century Arnie Cole is a showman, travelling the country and setting up cinema screens wherever he can find space. What he really wants though is to produce his own films – he knows thats where the real money is. When he meets the well to do Maud who just happens to have found herself pregnant after an ill-judged romance he realises they could make the perfect team. She makes him an offer he can’t refuse – marry her and give her baby a name and she will do everything she can to make his film dreams come true.

A fabulous series and a shame it only ran to six episodes, Bob Hoskins and Frances De La Tour spark wonderfully off each other as their relationship develops from one of mutual need to actual love over the course of the episodes and the evocation of the early days of silent cinema is terrific. The scripts are by Roy Clarke, best known for comedy Last of the Summer Wine. The subject was obviously dear to his heart as he returned to it in a later, equally entertaining, series called Pictures!

Technical advisor on the series John Huntley also provided the main camera used in the film making scenes – a hand cracked 1907 Moy which was used during World War I to film soldiers during the battle of the Somme.

Trivia: Maud’s brother in the series is played by Frances’ real life brother Andy.

production details
UK / ITV – ATV / 6×50 minute episodes / Broadcast 17 September – 22 October 1980

Writer: Roy Clarke / Music: Ron Grainer / Executive Producer: David Reid / Producer: Joan Brown / Director: Cyril Coke

Bob Hoskins as Arnie Cole
Frances de la Tour as Maud
Maxine Audley as Gwendoline Harper
Fraser Cains as LLewellyn
Philip Madoc as Jack Brewer
Sheila Reid as Lily Brewer
Tom Cotcher as Hector
Granville Saxton as Max Legendre
Dickie Arnold as Corky Brown
Valerie Holliman as Cora Brown
Joanna Foster as Clara Brewer
Teresa Codling as Dotty Brewer
Jim Hooper as Percy Bowden
Patrick Gordon as Gilbert Winslow
Peggy Ann Wood as Nanny
Sheri Shepstone as Violet
Teddy Turner as Eddie Marco
Sherrie Hewson as Letty
Andy De La Tour