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Tripods, The (BBC-1 1984-85, John Shackley, Ceri Seel)

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Scifi drama series set sometime in the future when the world has been overtaken by alien beings and their huge machines – The Tripods. The human race has been subjugated by means of a cap fitted into the skull and controlled by the aliens.

Three young teenagers join a resistance movement that plans to free the world and get rid of the Tripods. This is a series with a troubled history, the show was cancelled two thirds of the way through its three season run, leaving the aliens still in control. The only recourse for viewers to find out how the story ends is to read the source material – the third novel in the sequence The Pool of Fire).

Special effects took up much of the budget for the show and although the Tripods were seen in long shot the effects team mainly used a single huge leg to convey the presence of a tripod. The production couldn’t actually run to a trip to the French Alps where some of the action was set so Snowdonia stood in for it.

The Tripods

Will, Henry and Beanpole.

The first season had stayed very close to the original source material but for season two it was, for some reason, felt better to expand upon the material and bring in new situations and material.

production details
UK / BBC-1 / 25×30 minute episodes / 1984-85

Writers: Alick Rowe, Christopher Penfold / Trilogy of Novels: John Christopher (The three books are The White Mountains, The City of Gold and Lead and The Pool of Fire) / Theme Music: Ken Freeman / Producer: Richard Bates

cast
JOHN SHACKLEY as Will Parker
CERI SEEL as Beanpole
JIM BAKER as Henry Parker
PAMELA SALEM as Countess
RODERICK HORN as Ozymandias
JOHN WOODVINE as Master 468
EDWARD HIGHMORE as Boll
ROBIN HAYTER as Fritz

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TV

Ape And Essence (The Wednesday Play BBC-1 1966, Alec McCowen)

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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

cast
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

crew details
Writer: John Finch
Book: Aldous Huxley
Music: BBC Radiophonic Workshop
Producer: Peter Luke
Director: David Benedictus.

production details
Country: UK
Network and Production Companies: BBC One
Duration: 1×75 minute episode
Aired From: 18 May 1966

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TV

Plane Makers, The (ITV 1963-1965, Patrick Wymark, Barbara Murray)

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Plane Makers Patrick Wymark

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.

cast
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

crew details
Creator: Wilfred Greatorex
Producers: Rex Firkin (seasons 1-2), David Reid (season 3)

production details
Country: UK
Network: ITV – ATV
Duration: 57×50 minute episodes
Aired From: 4 February 1963 – 12 January 1965 black and white

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TV

Running Wild (ITV 1987, Ray Brooks, Janet Key)

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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.

cast
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)

crew details
Writer: Philip Trewinnard
Producers: Marcus Plantin (Season 1), Derrick Goodwin (Season 2)
Directors: Vic Finch (Season 1), Derrick Goodwin (Season 2)

production details
Country: UK
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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