Ronnie Barker proves his versatility with Seven Of One, a 1973 collection of seven single comedies, two of which would lead to his best known series. Barker had tried this anthology format twice before with The Ronnie Barker Playhouse from 1968 and Six Dates With Barker in 1971 but its this collection that sees him at his best.
Writing one of the episodes himself (under the pen name Jack Goetz) and bringing in giants of the genre such as Roy Clarke and Clement and La Frenais as well co-acting talent of the calibre of the legendary Talfryn Thomas, David Jason and Sam Kelly, Barker is very much on form.
The first two episodes are Open All Hours with Barker’s miserly shopkeeper Arkwright soon becoming a TV classic whilst the second is Prisoner and Escort starring a certain Norman Stanley Fletcher on his way to Slade prison, this episode would of course serve as the pilot for the legendary Porridge.
My Old Man sees Barker playing retired engine driver Sam Cobbett whose house faces demolition, this did in fact also go on to become a series that starred Clive Dunn in the title role. Spanner’s Eleven is another gem, scripted by Roy Clarke and co-starring the fab Bill Maynard, Barker is Albert Spanner coach of the dismal Ashfield Athletic football Club.
Another Fine Mess is something of a tribute to Laurel and Hardy that co-stars Roy Castle, One Man’s Meat was written by Barker and is a comedy of a starvation diet. Finally I’ll Fly You For A Quid is a farcical mix up over a winning betting slip.
Interestingly this was planned as the opening episode but for some reason was postponed and ended up being shown last.
UK / BBC-2 / 7×30 minute episodes / Broadcast 1973 March – 6 May 1973
Executive Producer: James Gilbert
Ape And Essence (The Wednesday Play BBC-1 1966, Alec McCowen)
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
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
Writer: John Finch
Book: Aldous Huxley
Music: BBC Radiophonic Workshop
Producer: Peter Luke
Director: David Benedictus.
Network and Production Companies: BBC One
Duration: 1×75 minute episode
Aired From: 18 May 1966
Plane Makers, The (ITV 1963-1965, Patrick Wymark, Barbara Murray)
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.
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
Creator: Wilfred Greatorex
Producers: Rex Firkin (seasons 1-2), David Reid (season 3)
Network: ITV – ATV
Duration: 57×50 minute episodes
Aired From: 4 February 1963 – 12 January 1965 black and white
Running Wild (ITV 1987, Ray Brooks, Janet Key)
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.
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)
Writer: Philip Trewinnard
Producers: Marcus Plantin (Season 1), Derrick Goodwin (Season 2)
Directors: Vic Finch (Season 1), Derrick Goodwin (Season 2)
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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