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



Hot Metal

Sitcom Hot Metal saw outrageous media baron Twiggy Rathbone (Robert Hardy) 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 (Geoffrey Palmer) 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 (Richard Kane), 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 (Richard Wilson).

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

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)