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Nightingale’s Boys (ITV 1975, Derek Farr, Anton Rodgers)



In Nightingale’s Boys teacher at a private school Bill “Tweety” Nightingale is fast approaching retirement age, his much younger partner Margaret has been offered a job in a different part of the country that would mean quite an advancement for her but definitely force Bill’s hand when it comes to retiring.

In a bid to help make up his mind Bill decides to organise a reunion for the class of “49” – the students that he considers were his best.

Over the course of the series we catch up with Bill’s former pupils and through meeting up with them Bill is able to come to a decision about where his future lay.

Created and mostly written by the fabulous Arthur Hopcraft and with a nice lead role for the amiable Derek Farr Nightingale’s Boys is a great slice of mid 1970’s grown up drama. The central premise of Bill reuniting his star pupils is a great idea to pull together what is basically a series of single plays (so much so that Derek Farr doesn’t appear in every episode) with each episode focusing on a different pupil now getting on with adult life and in fact approaching middle age.


classic quote
“The old alchemy has gone. I just tick-tock away there. 1949 was my best year. The class was brilliant.”

production details
UK / ITV – Granada / 7×50 minute episodes / Broadcast 14 January – 25 February 1975

Creator: Arthur Hopcraft / Producer: Brian Armstrong

Derek Farr as Bill Nightingale
Pauline Yates as Margaret
Angela Morant as Gillian
Terry Gilligan as Nick Selby
Bernard Gallagher as Harry Selby
Anne Reid as Claire Selby
Gerrard Ryder as Trevor Selby
Anton Rodgers as Izzy
Ronald Lewis as Sid Taylor
David Swift as David Fryer
John Carson as Major Alastair James Cartwright
Sally Home as Brenda Cartwright
John Challis as Pete
Barbara Lott as Agnes Nightingale
Alec Sabin as David Nightingale
Joanna Craig as Lucy Fryer
Lynne Carol as Mrs Fryer
James Ottaway as Bert
John Barcroft as Mike Miller
Michael Hawkins as Hal Crowther
Alan Igbon as Ola
Paula Tilbrook as Miss Paterson
Fred Feast as Mr Snaith


1. TWEETY (14 Jan 75)
2. IZZY (21 Jan 75)
3. BIG SID (28 Jan 75)
4. FLOSSIE (4 Feb 75) (Derek Farr doesn’t appear)
5. SPIVVY (11 Feb 75) (Derek Farr doesn’t appear)
6. A.J. (18 Feb 75)
7. DECISION (25 Feb 75)

Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.

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