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Good Companions, The (ITV 1980, Jan Francis, Judy Cornwell)

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Period drama The Good Companions, based on the classic novel by J.B. Priestley, took us into the world of 1930′s touring concert party The Dinky Doos who when the series begins are on the verge of collapse after their manager has done a moonlight flit with his leading lady and taking all their wages with them.

The troupe find their fortunes reviving though with the arrival of four new members including Elizabeth Trant (who following the death of her Colonel father is embarking on fresh adventures and uses part of her inheritance to finance the continuance of the Dinky Doos), Jess Oakroyd (a middle aged northern factory worker who has walked out on his wife following one argument too many and becomes the troupe’s handy man), Morton Mitcham (a comedy performer who has a tall story for every occasion) and Inigo Jollifant (a schoolteacher with a penchant for writing songs).

The quartet become a major part of the troupe and along with ingenue Susie Dean and new defacto leader Jimmy Nunn turn the Dinky Doos into star material.

Brilliant take on Preistley’s comic gem complete with three or four songs per episode and a charming 1930′s backdrop, there is also a fab voice over from Leslie Sands as the narrator sounding very much like Jake Thackery.

The week before the series began there was a special half hour show called On The Road in which Alan Plater spoke to J.B Priestley and his wife Jacquetta Hawkes about the series and Priestley’s writing in general. (Transmission details for this are – broadcast 7 November 1980 Executive Producer: David Cunliffe, Producer: Leonard Lewis, Director: Mervyn Cumming)

production details
UK / ITV Network – Yorkshire / 9×60 minute episodes / Broadcast: 14 November 1980 – 16 January 1981

Writer: Alan Plater / Novel:J.B. Priestley / Production Design: Alan Pickford, Mike Lond / Songs: David Fanshawe / Producers: David Cunliffe, Leonard Lewis / Director: Bill Hays

cast
JUDY CORNWELL as Elizabeth Trant
JOHN STRATTON as Jess Oakroyd
JAN FRANCIS as Susie Dean
JEREMY NICHOLAS as Inigo Jollifant
BRYAN PRINGLE as Morton Mitcham
FRANK MILLS as Jimmy Nunn
VIVIENNE MARTIN as Elsie Longstaff
JOHN BLYTHE as Joe Brundit
JO KENDALL as Mrs Joe
SIMON GREEN as Jerry Jerningham
LESLIE SANDS as Narrator

THE EPISODES
1. IN WHICH WE MEET THE COMPANY (14 November 1980)
2. MISS TRANT PAYS THE BILL (21 November 1980)
3. SUPPER AT THE ROYAL STANDARD (28 November 1980)
4. ON THE ROAD (5 December 1980)
5. SLIPPIN’ ROUND THE CORNER (12 December 1980)
6. STUMBLING CHRONICLES (19 December 1980)
7. A WIND IN THE TRIANGLE (2 January 1981)
8. SALVAGE WORK (9 January 1981)
9. CURTAIN CALL (16 Janury 1981)

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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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