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Hot Metal (ITV 1986-1988, Robert Hardy, Geoffrey Palmer)

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Sitcom Hot Metal saw outrageous media baron Twiggy Rathbone takes over run down newspaper The Daily Crucible and begin to revolutionise it. He quickly sends the paper downmarket and rechristens it The Crucible.

Rathbone ‘promotes’ editor Harry Stringer to ‘Managing Editor’ but makes sure he has no power. Then he brings in a new editor, Russell Spam (Twiggy and Russell are both played by Robert Hardy), giving him the job of turning the newspaper into a sleazy downmarket ‘rag’.

Spam reinstates Greg Kettle, who had previously been sacked by Stringer. Kettle becomes the papers leading ‘sleaze merchant’, inventing stories whenever he can’t find any real ones.

Stringer later vanishes after a mysterious accident on an aeroplane. He’s replaced as Managing Editor by Richard Lipton.

Extremely funny take on the tabloids and certain well known proprietors. Series writers Andrew Marshall and David Renwick had mined a similar vein of archly satirical comedy with Whoops Apocalypse. Robert Hardy was fabulous in the dual role of Twiggy and Russell.

There was a short special broadcast on 10 March 1989 on BBC One as part of that years A Night of Comic Relief.

Hot Metal

production details
UK / ITV – London Weekend Television – Humphrey Barclay / 12×25 minute episodes / Broadcast 16 February 1986 – 17 April 1988

Writers: Andrew Marshall, David Renwick / Producer: Humphrey Barclay

cast
Robert Hardy as Terence ‘Twiggy’ Rathbone/Russell Spam
Geoffrey Palmer as Harry Stringer (series 1 & special)
Richard Wilson as Richard Lipton (series 2)
Richard Kane as Greg Kettle
Geoffrey Hutchings as Max (series 1)
John Gordon-Sinclair as Bill Tytla (series 1)
David Barrass as Jack Thrush (series 2)
Caroline Milmoe as Maggie Troon (series 2)
John Horsley as Father Teasdale (series 1)
Geoffrey Greenhill as Keith (series 1)
Doreen Keogh as Mrs Beatty (series 1)
Sarah Mortimer as Sharon (series 1)
Jack Watling as Prime Minister (series 1)
Eliza Buckingham as Mrs Macnamara (series 1)
Michael Stainton as Kuznetsky (series 1)
Nicolas Colicos as Lt Scott Mackenzie (series 2)
Peter Snow as Himself (special)
Mike Gatting as Himself (special)

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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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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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