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Hardware (ITV1 2003-2004, Martin Freeman, Peter Serafinoicz)

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Watch an episode of sitcom Hardware and you might be forgiven for thinking that you have slipped into a timewarp and its suddenly 1973 again, the limited sets, confined cast and dodgy hairstyles of the leads. However this is not a bad thing as some of the best sitcoms of all time came from the seventies. Hardware isn’t one of the best sitcoms of all time but it is frequently hilarious and never less than funny.

Coming from the always dependable pen of Simon Nye (he of Men Behaving Badly) Hardware is set in the kind of retail emporium that has all but been swallowed whole by the giant conglomerates. Hamway’s Hardware mighty sell all manner of stuff but the guys certainly don’t want any pesky customers coming in and threatening to buy any of it.

The excellent Martin Freeman headlines as Mike whose girlfriend Anne (Susan Earl) works in the cafe across the road (the Hardware shop, the Cafe and Mike’s flat are pretty much the only sets on display), the other staff members are Mike’s best friend Kenny who thinks he knows it all when it comes to the ways of women, student Steve who works at Hamways part time and is desperate for some regular sex whilst manager Rex (the brilliant Ken Morley) whose seediness knows no bounds. Mike sees himself as somewhat above the laddish behavior that the guys indulge in but deep down knows he is part of it too.

production details
UK / ITV1 Network – Thames – Fremantle / 12×25 minute episodes / Broadcast 23 March 2003 – 11 April 2004

Writer: Simon Nye / Producer: Margot Gavan Duffy / Director: Ben Kellett

cast
Martin Freeman as Mike
Peter Serafinowicz as Kenny
Ken Morley as Rex
Ryan Cartwright as Steve
Susan Earl as Anne
Ella Kenion as Julie

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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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