Franchise Affair, The (BBC-1 1988, Patrick Malahide, Joanna McCallum)

Sunday team time Period drama serial The Franchise Affair took us back to the 1950’s when young teenager Betty Kane (Kate Emma Davies) accuses Marion Sharpe (Joanna McCallum) and her elderly mother (played by Rosalie Crutchley) of kidnapping her and keeping her as a skivvy. Solicitor Robert Blair (a rare sympathetic role for Patrick Malahide) helps to prove their innocence.

Around this time the BBC were giving us lots of high quality period dramas in a Sunday afternoon slot, all with high production values and strongly cast. This is no exception. It stays very faithful to the novel by Josephine Tey.

Patrick Malahide had spent much of the 1970’s and early 1980’s in supporting roles but his memorable role as D.S. Chisholm in Minder and an equally memorable role in Dennis Potter’s The Singing Detective had elevated his career somewhat.

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Trivia fans may like to note that although they share no scenes here, James Garbutt who plays Blair’s clerk Heseltine and Jean Heywood who plays Blair’s aunt, had played husband and wife in the BBC’s highly popular 1970’s drama When The Boat Comes In.

There had been a film version in 1950, this starred husband and wife team Michael Denison and Dulcie Gray.

production details
UK / BBC One / 6×30 minute episodes / Broadcast 25 September – 30 October 1988

Writer: James Andrew Hall / Novel: Josephine They / Script Editor: Phillippa Giles / Music: Paul Hart, Jo Campbell / Production Design: Rob Hinds / Producer: Terrance Dicks / Director: Leonard Lewis

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Patrick Malahide as Robert Blair
Joanna McCallum as Marion Sharpe
Rosalie Crutchley as Mrs Sharpe
Alex Jennings as Nevil Bennet
Kate Emma Davies as Betty Kane
Jean Heywood as Aunt Lin
James Garbutt as Mr Heseltine
Miranda Bell as Miss Tuff
David Ellison as Inspector John Hallam
Grant Parsons as Leslie Wynn
Penelope Nice as Mrs Wynn
John Vine as Detective Inspector Grant
Peter James Holloway as Herbert
Catherine Terris as Anita Kenton
Edward Wilson as Carley
Jo Rowbottom as Mildred Pinner
David Doyle as Wallis
Frances Atkinson as Rose Glyn
Roger Brierley as Ramsden
Alan Downer as Einar Lange

Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.