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TV

Monocled Mutineer, The (BBC-1 1986, Paul McGann, Cherie Lunghi)

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Based on true events recalled in a book by William Allison and John Fairley, The Monocled Mutineer was the story of dashing rogue Percy Toplis. The cynical Nottinghamshire miner, a private in the British army, was stationed at the Etaples training camp in France and, on the night before the Battle of Passchendaele in 1917, instigated a mutiny among his harshly treated fellow recruits. His partner in the action was Charles Strange, a political idealist.

This four-part dramatization by Alan Bleasdale (whose own grandfather had died at Passchendaele) added fiction to the bare facts and depicted how Toplis escaped into the French hills, took to impersonating an army officer and led a group of renegades in the taking of a bridge. He then returned to England and fell in love with Dorothy, a young widow, before being captured in the Lake District and ‘executed’ for his crimes by Ml5 assassin Woodhall.

The series proved to be the most provocative of Bleasdale’s works to date and roused the ire of Establishment figures and old soldiers. The suggestion that deserters were executed by their own side (exemplified in the drama by the shooting of an officer named Cruikshank) was heavily condemned. The fact that Michael Grade, the BBC’s Director of Programmes, had passed a press release stating that the story was totally factual only made matters worse. According to Grade, the fuss detracted from the quality of the drama itself.

The Monocled Mutineer

Paul McGann as Percy Topliss. In this scene Topliss returns to his coal mining roots posing as an officer and making fools of the coal mine bosses.

production details
UK / BBC-1 / 2×75 minute episodes 1×80 minute episode 1×95 minute episode / Broadcast 31 August – 29 September 1986

Writer: Alan Bleasdale / Consultant: William Allison / Music: George Fenton / Producer: Richard Broke / Director: Jim O’Brien

cast
Paul McGann as Percy Toplis
Cherie Lunghi as Dorothy
Timothy West as Thomson
Dave Hill as Frank Webster
Penelope Wilton as Lady Angela Forbes
Jerome Flynn as Franny
Matthew Marsh as Charles Strange
Jane Wood as Annie Webster
Philip McGough as Woodhall
Anthony Calf as Guiness
Ron Donachie as Strachan
Billy Fellows as Geordie

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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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