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Ballykissangel (BBC-1 1996-2001, Dervla Kirwan, Stephen Tompkinson)

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Comedy drama series Ballykissangel saw naive English priest Father Peter Clifford who is posted to the church of St Josephs in the idyllic Southern Ireland town of Ballykissangel (real life Avoca), at first he’s a real fish out of water learning the ways of the eccentric villagers and not least his immediate supervisor, the wily Father MacAnally (the brilliant Niall Tobin); Tony Doyle as the entrepreneurial town big wig Brian Quigley also has a major presence in the show as does Dervla Kirwan as Assumpta Fitzgerald, owner of the local bar – it’s actually the relationship that develops between herself and father Clifford that lies at the heart of the series, nothing is expressed in this first season but a meaningful glance goes a long way. The first three seasons concentrated on the relationship between Father Peter and Assumpta. Later when Assumpta died (after coming very close to having an affair with Father Peter) he left the village.

Season Four saw the arrival of new priest Father Aiden O’Connell (played by Don Wycherley) and his sexy sister Orla (Victoria Smurfit), of course Father Aiden is soon crossing swords with crotchety old Father MacAnally, meanwhile there is a recurring role for a certain Colin Farrell (long before he a became a major Hollywood player) as bad boy Danny Byrne. Finally Lorcan Cranitch arrives in town as Sean Dillon who keft BallyK years before to make his fortune and has now returned home, a widower with a 17 year old daughter, Emma.

The scheming Quigley (who likes to think he is the master of BallyK) ends up buying Fitzgeralds and has some ambitious plans for it, his daughter Niamh though is having trouble with with her marriage to local copper Ambrose.

Ballykissangel

While the departure of the two lead players ruffled a few feathers it doesn’t actually alter the dynamic of the series too much as its the ensemble playing of the whole cast and nicely quirky scripts that make the show such a joy.

For the final season in 2001 more changes were made, Brian Quigley had disappeared, apparently faking his suicide to cover his failing business dealings, this was to account for the fact of the death of the much missed Tony Doyle. New characters included Australian priest Father Vincent and stables manager Avril Burke. Avril was played by Susannah Doyle real life daughter of Tony. Colin Farrell also appeared briefly in the series.

production details
UK / BBC One – World – Ballykea / 57×50 minute episodes 1×90 minute episode / Broadcast 1996 – 15 April 2001

Creator: Kieran Prendiville / Music: Shaun Davey / Executive Producers: Robert Cooper, Tony Garnett

cast
DERVLA KIRWAN as Assumpta Fitzgerald (-98)
STEPHEN TOMPKINSON as Father Peter Clifford (-98)
TONY DOYLE as Brian Quigley(-2000)
NIALL TOBIN as Father MacNally
TINA KELLEGHER as Niamh Egan
PETER HANLY as Ambrose Egan (Seasons 1-4)
LORCAN CRANITCH as Sean Dillon (98- )
VICTORIA SMURFIT as Orla(98-2000)
DON WYCHERLY as Father Aidan(98-2000)
KATE McENERY as Emma Dillon(98- )
COLIN J. FARRELL as Danny(98- )
JOE SAVINO as Liam
FRANKIE McCAFFERTY as Donal
DEIDRE DONNELLY as Siobhan
GARY WHELAN as Brendan
BIRDY SWEENEY as Eamon(-99)
PETER CAFFREY as Paidraig
BOSCO HOGAN as Dr Michael Ryan
AINE NI MHURI as Kathleen
JOHN CLEERE as Kevin
OWEN ROE as Paul Dooley (2000-2001)
MARION O’DWYER as Oonagh Dooley (2000-2001)
SUSANNAH DOYLE as Avril (2001)
ROBERT TAYLOR as Father Vincent (2001)

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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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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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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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