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Probation Officer (ITV Drama, John Paul)

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Drama series Probation Officer detailed episodes in the lives of a group of probation officers especially Philip Main (John Paul) and Jim Blake (David Davies). Philip Main, the senior officer in the group, was ex-army and he relished sorting out other people’s problems.

Producer  Antony Kearey had also looked after Emergency Ward 10 and probation officer treads a similar line. The stories happening around the officers rather than to them.

Initially only scheduled to run for 26 episodes Probation Officer was immediately popular and the first season was extended to 39 episodes and the second to a mammoth 40 episodes.

Honor Blackman played Iris Cole in the early part of season one but very quickly moved across to The Avengers and major stardom.

Season two saw a few changes with only John Paul staying out of the original cast. Andrew Wallace (Jack Stewart) arrived as Main’s new boss and there was a new female probation officer too, Maggie Weston (Jessica Spencer). A magistrate played by Henry Oscar was also a semi regular which gave the series more of an emphasis on the magistrates court (as opposed to the assizes of the first season).

Jack Stewart had already played two different roles in the series before arriving as a regular.

Season three saw the team move to the town of Goodford, a reasonably sized town on the outskirts of London. Out were Wallace and the Magistrate and in was Stephen Ryder (Bernard Brown).

Cast: John Paul as Philip Main; David Davies as Jim Blake (Season One); Honor Blackman as Iris Cope (first part of season one only); Jessica Spencer as Maggie Weston (from season 2); Jack Stewart as Andrew Wallace (Season 2), Henry Oscar as Magistrate (Season 2); Bernard Brown as Stephen Ryder (from season 3)

Creator: Julian Bond / Producers: Anthony Kearey, Rex Firkin

UK / ITV – ATV / 109×60 minute episodes / Broadcast 14 September 1959 – 14 September 1962 black and white