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Life Goes On (ABC 1989-1993, Bill Smitrovich, Patti Lupone)

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Life Goes On was an earnest family drama with an unusual plot hook: it was the first television series to revolve around a mentally handicapped character, Corky (portrayed by Christopher Burke, who had Down’s Syndrome in real life). The show chronicled the lives of Corky and his family as he tried to make the transition from special education classes to become a freshman at a traditional high school.

Corky’s parents were restaurant owner Drew and ad exec/former singer Libby (Broadway star Patti LuPone). Corky also had a sister, 14 year-old Becca, and a stepsister, Paige, who returned home after dropping out of college.

Stories focused on the travails of the family’s daily life such as Corky’s ongoing struggle to be accepted as normal by his new classmates, Becca’s attempts to resolve her desire to popular with her responsibility to look out for Corky, and Libby’s discovering she was pregnant at the age of 41.

Later additions to the show would include Gina, Libby’s younger sister, who arrived to help run the house when Libby became pregnant, and Zoe, Gina’s daughter. Another important addition to the show arrived in the form of Jesse McKenna, an HIV-positive student who became good friends with Becca.

The show was telecast for four seasons on ABC and ended its run in August of 1993 after 83 episodes. It was successful with families and critics alike for its emphasis on positive family values and its responsible handling of social issues like AIDS. It also won several awards, including an Emmy for Christopher Burke’s portrayal of Corky.

The show’s theme song was the classic Beatles tune “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” (whose lyrics lent the show its title) and was performed by Patti LuPone and the cast. Their family singalong over the opening credits was a perfect encapsulation of the show and the lives it portrayed—energetic, free-spirited, imperfect but filled with the joy in knowing that life does, indeed go on.

production details
USA / ABC – Warner Bros. TV – The Toots Company / 83×50 minute episodes / Broadcast 12 September 1989 – 29 August 1993

cast
Bill Smitrovich as Drew Thatcher
Patti LuPone as Elizabeth “Libby” Thatcher
Chris Burke as Charles “Corky” Thatcher
Kellie Martin as Rebecca “Becca” Thatcher
Monique Lanier as Paige Thatcher (1989-90)
Tracey Needham as Paige Thatcher (1990-93)
Chad Lowe as Jesse McKenna (1991-93)
Tommy Puett as Tyler Benchfield (1989-91)
David Byrd as Hans (1990-91)
Tanya Fenmore as Maxie (1989-91)
Mary Page Keller as Gina (1990-91)
Leigh Ann Orsi as Zoe (1990-91)
Kiersten Warren as Goodman (1992-93)
Ray Buktenica as Jerry Berkson

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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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