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Love on a Branch Line (BBC-1 1994, Michael Maloney, Abigail Cruttenden)



Period comedy drama serial Love on a Branch Line was set in the 1950’s when civil servant Jasper Pye (Michael Maloney) is sent to idyllic Arcady Hall to report on the long forgotten government department housed there. Once there he comes under the influence Lord Flamborough’s (Leslie Phillips) three beautiful daughters Belinda (Abigail Cruttenden), Chloe (Cathryn Harrison) and Matilda (Charlotte Williams).

The four parter was written by David Nobbs of The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin fame, from the novel by John Hadfield (which was written in 1959). Love on a Branch Line is beautifully filmed (at Oxburgh Hall in Suffolk) and full of quirky and likable performances. Jasper is the straight bat around which the eccentricity circles. All of the women seem more than a little drawn to Jasper.

Lord Flamborough, a double amputee, doesn’t live in the hall instead preferring a well appointed train that runs on it’s own branch line from Arcady to Flaxfield Junction. Maria Aitken is Lady Flamborough and the always fabulous Graham Crowden is Professor Pollux who runs the department with his archivist Quirk (Stephen Moore) and their assistant Miss Mounsey (Amanda Root).

The rest of the cast included David Haig as Lionel Virley (Chloe’s husband), Joe Melia as JOnes and Gillian Raine as Miss Tidy.

The production was made by New Penny for BBC One and aired from 12 June – 3 July 1994 on Sundays at 8.45pm. The music was by Ilona Secakz, Jacqueline Davis was the producer and Martyn Friend directed.