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Tales Of Para Handy, The (BBC-1 Comedy Drama, Gregor Fisher)

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Tales Of Para Handy

Period comedy drama series The Tales Of Para Handy took us to the 1930′s where Captain Para Handy (a brilliant Gregor Fisher) and his hapless crew on the Vital Spark ply the Scottish Highland coastline with many an unlikely cargo. His crew included the reliable Dougie (Sean Scanlon), the romance novel reading engineer MacPhail (Rikki Fulton) and new boy and cook Sunny Jim (Andrew Fairlie).

Season two contained only three episodes. Guest stars included a young David Tennant, Ian McCulloch, Clive Russell, Ashley Jenson and Iain Cuthbertson.

A wonderful period charm and fabulous acting made this a real gem of a series. Sadly only 9 episodes were made.

Two earlier sitcoms also featured the character, these were called Para Handy – Master Mariner and The Vital Spark.

production details
UK / BBC1 / 9×50 minute episodes / Broadcast 31 July 1994 – 21 August 1995

Creator: Neil Munro / Script Editor: Niall Clark / Music: Phil Cunningham / Design: Graham Rose / Producer: Colin Gilbert

Cast: Gregor Fisher as Para Handy; Rikki Fulton as Macphail; Sean Scanlan as Dougie; Andrew Fairlie as Sunny Jim; Paul Young as Andrew Campbell; Sally Howitt as Miss Kelly; Gilbert Martin as Capt Angus; Carolyn Pickles as Lady Ramsay; Joanne Bett as Susan

THE EPISODES

SEASON ONE 6 EPISODES 31 July – 4 Sept 1994 / Sundays 8.00

1.PARA HANDY, MASTER MARINER
The Vital Spark’s cargo of coal, a double bed and a prize highland bull cause trouble for the crew.

guest cast
Ron Bain as Dougald / Alyxis Daly as Margaret / Joanne Bett as Susan.

WRITER: Bob Black
DIRECTOR: Ron Bain

 

2.PARA HANDY, POACHER
A spot of poaching on Laird Ferguson’s land sees Para Handy and his crew in jail (mainly thanks to the fact that Ferguson is also the village magistrate).

guest cast
IAN McCULLOCH as Laird Ferguson / GILBERT MARTIN as Captain Angus / GAVIN MITCHELL as Captain / BILLY RIDDOCH as Sergeant.

WRITER: Bob Black
DIRECTOR: Ron Bain

 

3. SALVAGE
Para handy and his hapless crew rescue a drifting floating craft intending to claim salvage but Para Handy’s arch rival Captain Angus intends to get their first.

guest cast
GILBERT MARTIN as Capt Angus / JOSEPH GRIEG as John MaCallum / JUNE WATSON as Mrs MaCallum / ROBERT PATTERSON as Frazer / LAURIE VENTRIE as Hughie

WRITER: Bob Black
DIRECTOR: Morag Fullerton

 

4. A NIGHT ALARM
A spot of engine trouble sees the crew marooned in a small island village, where Para Handy gets caught up in a spot of match making.

guest cast
GORDON KENNEDY as Constable Macleod / CLIVE RUSSELL as Macvicar / ANNIE KRISTEN as Mrs Maclean ASHLEY JENSON as Caterion Maclean.

WRITER: Michael Russell
DIRECTOR: Jim Shields

5.THE END OF THE WORLD
After reading his tea leaves, Dougie predicts doom and disaster for those on board the Vital Spark and soon it looks like his predictions are coming true.

guest cast
DAVID O’HARA as Robert Garant / BRIAN PETTIFER as Newspaper Editor / IAIN MACOLL as Donald MacDonald / FREDDIE BOARDLEY as Capt Montand

WRITER: Colin Macdonald
DIRECTOR: Morag Fullerton

 

6. TREASURE TROVE
It takes all of Para Handy’s cunning plus the help of a large beached whale to keep him and his crew in steady employment.

guest cast
GILBERT MARTIN as Captain Angus / ALEX McAVOY as Ichabod McCrain / STEWART PRESTON as Hugh Rafferty / ALEXANDER NORTON as John Cruickshank / MARTIN JAMES as Jim Donachie.

WRITER: Bob Black
DIRECTOR: Jim Shields

 

SEASON TWO 3 EPISODES / Mondays 9.30pm / 31 July – 21 August 1995

1.THE FORTUNE TELLER
Para Handy and his crew hear of an old gypsy prophecy that could see them get their hands on a fortune in Spanish gold.

guest cast
BARBARA RAFFERTY as Madam Isis / ALEC HEGGIE as MacRea / VINCENT FRIEL as Landlord / SANDY WELCH as Auctioneer.

WRITER: Michael Russell
DIRECTOR: Colin Gilbert

 

2.THE PIPER
When the crew are entrusted with delivering a piper to a society wedding, they find a stowaway on board who wants to elope with the bride but it seems the bride may be having second thoughts.

guest cast
IAIN CUTHBERTSON as Angus Monroe / ANDREW ROBERTSON as Hughie MacDiarmuid / KAREN WESTWOOD as Maire Monroe / MICHAEL CARTER as Rankin.

WRITER: Michael Russell
DIRECTOR: Ron Bain

 

3. THE MALINGERER
Para Handy may have made the wrong decision when after bragging about the speed of his boat he finds himself involved in a race with his most deadly rival.

guest cast
LOU HIRSCH as John Cody / JOHN STAHL as Robertson the Vet / DAVE ANDERSON as Henry Fleming / JOHN COMERFORD as MacGregor

WRITER: Bob Black
DIRECTOR: Ron Bain