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The Square Leopard (ITV, John Leyton, Janet Key)



Whitney Houston & Bobbi Kristina

The Square Leopard was a family sitcom about struggling solicitor Gerald Parish (John Leyton) who rents the ground floor of a fashionable house from Mary Lambert (Janet Key), widowed mother of five.

The children cannot stand the sight of the irritable new tenant and he likewise. Then Gerald’s father Henry (Raymond Huntley), whom he has not seen for years, phones to say he is coming to stay in England. In a bid to make his father think he is more successful than he is Gerald tries to persuade Mary to pretend that they are married.

The TV Times week of 9 Aug 1980 had a short feature on Leyton focusing on how Leyton’s acting career was now on something of a comeback trajectory. Leyton had been pretty popular in the early sixties (with roles in movies classics like The Great Escape and Von Ryan’s Express) but he moved out of acting into business during the early 1970’s before making a return in 1975 series The Nearly Man.

The Stage (of Thurs 28 June 1979) also featured a short look at the series prior to broadcast: A SIX-PART drama serial, The Square Leopard, which HTV hope will be given an early evening slot on the network, has just gone into production at HTV’s Bristol studios. Written and produced by Peter Miller, the six half-hour episodes are directed by Alex Kirby, Ken Price, Jan Darnley Smith and Terry Miller. Recording is mainly on tape, although there will be some filmed inserts. The story revolves round a solicitor who is swindling his rich grandfather and in the cast are John Leyton, Janet Key, Sorcha Cusack, Norman Bowler, Raymond Huntley, Toby Waldock and Jessica Turner.

Cast: John Leyton (Gerald Parish), Janet Key (Mary Lampert), Sorcha Cusack (Nesta Wright), Jayne Tottman (Joanna), Raymond Huntley (Henry Parish), Jessica Turner (Adela), Toby Waldock (Toby), Richard Kellow (David), Mark Evans (Richard), Marcus D’Amico (Bill)

Writer: Peter Miller / Production Design: John Biggs / Executive Producer: Patrick Dromgoole / Producer: Peter Miller / Directors: Terry Miller, Ken Price, Jan Darnley-Smith

UK / ITV – HTV / 6×25 minute episodes / Broadcast 12 August – 16 September 1980