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The Power Game Patrick Wymark as Sir John Wilder flanked by the two women in his life. His wife Pamela (played by Barbara Murray) and his mistress Susan Weldon (Rosemary Leach) The Power Game Patrick Wymark as Sir John Wilder flanked by the two women in his life. His wife Pamela (played by Barbara Murray) and his mistress Susan Weldon (Rosemary Leach)

TV

The Power Game (ITV 1965-1969, Patrick Wymark, Clifford Evans)

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Drama series The Power Game was a continuation of the The Plane Makers. Sir John Wilder leaves the aviation industry and takes a position as co-managing director of Bligh Industries – a major company specialising in large scale building projects (motorways, dams etc) both at home and abroad. Where The Plane Makers had been about the struggles inside a group of companies with Whitehall and Westminster as useful extra arenas The Power Game uses politics as the main battlefield with industry of secondary importance.

When the series begins John Wilder had walked out of Scott Furlong Aviation and accepted a knighthood and a seat on the board of a merchant bank.However humdrum retirement is not for Wilder and he is soon involved with large scale civil engineering firm Caswell Bligh. Much of the dynamic centred around the fiery business relationship between John and head of Bligh’s Sir Caswell. His son Kenneth (managing director) was also somewhat put out by the arrival of Sir John. Wilder also brought his right hand man Don Henderson across with him.

For the first two seasons there was much made of the machination of Sir John and Caswell who were both fighting to take control of the government’s National Export Board, although when Wilder discovered it was going to be wound up he rather adroitly stepped aside and let Caswell (who didn’t know) take the position. Wilder was also embroiled in a long running affair with Susan Weldon (who held a key position on the board) much to the annoyance of his long suffering and glamorous wife Pamela.

The Power Game ITV 1965-1969 Giles Watling and Patrick Wymark

Giles Watling as Don Henderson and Patrick Wymark as Sir John Wilder.

There was a two year gap between seasons 2 and 3 (which gained a prestigious TV Times cover to mark the return of the series. Season three also changed the format somewhat too, Sir John was now a roving Ambassador working for the British government. Unfortunately for Wilder, Caswell had now been given a peerage and was heavily involved in things too. There was a shock development towards the end of the season though when Caswell underwent a heart transplant operation and died during the surgery.

The series would very possibly have continued were it not for the untimely death, from a heart attack, of star Patrick Wymark on October 20, 1970. He was just 44 at the time and was working in Melbourne rehearsing for a run in the hit Anthony Shafer play Sleuth.

production details
UK / ITV – ATV / 39×50 minutes / Broadcast from 13 December 1965 – 1 April 1969

Creator: Wilfred Greatorex / Producer: Rex Firkin

cast
Patrick Wymark as Sir John Wilder
Clifford Evans as Caswell Bligh
Jack Watling as Don Henderson
Michael Jayston as Lincoln Dowling (Season 3)
Peter Barkworth as Kenneth Wilder
Barbara Murray as Pamela Wilder
Rosemary Leach as Susan Weldon

THE EPISODES
SEASON ONE 13 December 1965 – 20 June 1966
1. THE NEW BOY
2. LADY FOR A KNIGHT
3. HAGADAN
4. THE POLITICIAN
5. POINT OF BALANCE
6. SATURDAY’S WOMEN
7. THE SWITCH
8. THE CRUNCH
9. LATE VIA ROME
10. PERSONS AND PAPERS
11. TRADE SECRET
12. THE MAN WITH TWO HATS
13. CONFOUND THEIR POLITICS

SEASON TWO 26 September – 19 December 1966
1. NOTHING’S FREE
2. AMBASSADOR STATUS
3. GROUNDS FOR DECISION
4. THE FRONT MEN
5. A MATTER FOR SPECULATION
6. THE BIG VIEW
7. THE DEAD SEA FRUIT
8. THE CHICKEN RUN
9. SAFE CONDUCT
10. THE SIDE OF THE ANGELS
11. TAX RETURN
12. WHERE DO I WANT TO GO?
13. THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS A DEAD-HEAT

SEASON THREE 7 January – 1 April 1969
1. SPECIAL ENVOY – ONE VIA ZURICH
2. SPECIAL ENVOY – THE BIG NOTHING
3. SPECIAL ENVOY – THE OUTSIDER
4. SPECIAL ENVOY – THE GOOSE CHASE
5. SPECIAL ENVOY – PRIVATE TREATY
6. SPECIAL ENVOY – WITHOUT PREJUDICE
7. SPECIAL ENVOY – CAT IS YOU, BIRD IS ME
8. SPECIAL ENVOY – STANDARD PRACTICE
9. SPECIAL ENVOY – THE HEART MARKET
10. SPECIAL ENVOY – THE NEW MINISTER
11. SPECIAL ENVOY – DRINKS ON SUNDAY
12. SPECIAL ENVOY – TRIANGLES
13. SPECIAL ENVOY – MERGERS

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