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History Man, The (BBC-2 1981, Antony Sher, Isla Blair)

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In fabulous drama serial The History Man Howard Kirk, a trendy left wing sociology university lecturer, has a complicated love and home life. Kirk is supremely manipulative and works up a real storm amongst the faculty over a proposed visit by an apparently racist lecturer, Professor Mangel (The History Man of the title).

He plays it all out though so that he doesn’t actually get his fingers dirty and it seems his main motivation for stirring up trouble is simply to watch the fall out.

Not only is Kirk, who is 34, married with a couple of kids, he is also sleeping with one of his students (young Felicity, who ends up pretty much stalking him) as well as very sexy colleague Flora Beniform. He is also desperate to get into bed with English lecturer Anne Petty and manufactures a dispute with one of her students (who is also one of his students) to try and get closer to her.

The History Man opens on 2 October 1972 and the first three episodes take place over the course of a couple of days whilst the final episode takes events to the end of term. It begins and ends with a party at the Kirk’s fantastic house (apparently they had claimed squatters rights some years before and been more or less given the place by the council!). Antony Sher is just superb as Kirk, a brilliant actor in his prime.

Incidentally Howard’s book that he is writing about lack of privacy seems surprisingly relevent today. Most of the uni scenes were filmed at the University of Lancaster.

The History Man

Michael Hordern as Professor Marvin and Antony Sher as Howard.

The four episode titles are
1. October 2nd 1972
2. October 3rd 1972 (AM)
3. October 3rd 1972 (PM)
4. Gross Moral Turpitude

classic quote
“I don’t care what your friends say about you Howard, you’re a good guy, a radical’s radical”

production details
UK / BBC-2 / 4×60 minute episodes / Broadcast 4 – 25 January 1981

Writer: Christopher Hampton / Novel: Malcolm Bradbury / Original Music: George Fenton / Costumes: Sue Peck / Production Design: Gavin Davies / Producer: Michael Wearing / Director: Robert Knights

cast
ANTONY SHER as Howard Kirk
GERALDINE JAMES as Barbara Kirk
JONATHAN BRUTON as Martin Kirk
CHARLOTTE ENDERBY as Celia Kirk
CHLOE SALAMAN as Anne Petty
ISLA BLAIR as Flora Beniform
LAURA DAVENPORT as Annie Callendar
PAUL BROOKE as Henry Beamish
MAGGIE STEED as Myra Beamish
MIRIAM MARGOLYES as Melissa Tordoroff
ELIZABETH PROUD as Moira Millikin
GRAHAM PADDEN as John McIntosh
JUDY LIEBERT as Jane McIntosh
ZENIA MERTON as Miss Ho
MICHAEL HORDERN as Professor Marvin
VERONICA QUILLIGAN as Felicity Phee
BILL BUFFERY as Peter Madden
JULIA SWIFT as Beck Pott
PETER HUGO DALY as George Carmody
LLOYD PETERS as Michael Bennard
JULIET WALEY as Marjorie
JANE SLAUGHTER as Joanna
STEVE PLYTAS as Professor Mangel
ARTHUR LUGO as Hashmi Sadeck
JANE GALLOWAY as Chloe
JACK ELLIOTT as Leon

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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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