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Running Scared (BBC-1 1986 with Julia Millbank and Christopher Ellison)

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UK / BBC One / 6×25 minute episodes / Broadcast 15 January – 19 February 1986

Writer: Bernard Ashley / Costumes: Maggie Hall / Theme Music: Running Up That Hill by Kate Bush / Production Design: Graeme Thomson / Executive Producer: Paul Stone / Director: Marilyn Fox

“It’s like at school, if you don’t tell on the bullies, nothing ever gets stopped.”

In the well remembered teen drama serial Running Scared young Paula Prescott and her family face trouble when they are targetted by major villain Charlie Elkin. The problems begin when Paula’s grandfather Sam, a taxi driver, gets caught up in a bank raid pulled off by Elkin and his gang. The gang’s getaway car breaks down and they take over Sam’s cab, in the kerfuffle Elkin’s glasses break and fall off, getting left behind in the cab. Not wishing to get involved Sam hides the glasses from the police but Elkin is determined to get them back. When Sam later dies it is left to Paula to stay one step ahead of Elkin and bring him to justice.

Meanwhile also part of Elkin’s mob is Paula’s sly cousin Brian who works as part of Elkin’s protection racket gang and Paula’s best friend Narinder is an Indian whose family own a shop that is being targeted by Elkin. As events come to a head Paula faces pressure from all sides to “do the right thing”.

Filmed completely on location Running Scared was pretty strong viewing for the children’s audience with some Sweeney-esque moments and some hard hitting moments, especially when Elkin’s mob ransack the Prescott house to find Elkin’s missing broken glasses. Chris Ellison is his usual charming self as the villainous Elkin, the kind of role he plays so well.

The great thing about Bernard Ashley is his wonderful naturalistic touch, his stories are of everyday people, more often than not working class, who find themselves out of their comfort zone. There is much made of the racial angle in the drama too, something that was very much striking a chord in multicultural 1980’s Britain, Elkin seems to make a habit of targetting minority groups.

cast
The Prescott Family
JULIA MILLBANK as Paula
FRED BRYANT as Grandad
DESMOND McNAMARA as Mick
MAUREEN SWEENEY as Dolly
ANTHONY GORRY as Dean

The Sidhu Family
AMARJIT DHILLON as Narinder
RENU SETNA as Pratap Singh Sidhu
RANI SINGH as Kamal Kaur Sidhu

The Butler Family
TONY CAUNTER as Frank Butler
PENNY MORRELL as Ellie Butler
SIMON ADAMS as Brian Butler

The Gang
CHRIS ELLISON as Charlie Elkin
HETTY BAYNES as Leila
ALAN FORD as Ron Martin
ALAN TALBOT as Fred Barratt

The Law
JAMES COSMO as Detective Inspector McNeill

The Community
BADI UZZAMAN as Shopkeeper
JASON NORMAN as Tommy
DAMON DOYLE as Scott
MARK MONERO as Sixth Former
MAUREEN TAYLOR as Girl at Disco
SPENCER CREASE as Boy at Disco

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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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