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To The Manor Born (BBC-1 1979-1981 with Penelope Keith and Peter Bowles)

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UK / BBC One / 21×30 minute episodes / Broadcast 30 September 1979 – 29 November 81 3 seasons + 1 special

Creator: Peter Spence / Script Associate: Christopher Bond / Music: Ronnie Hazlehurst / Producer: Gareth Gwenlan

Having finally achieved stardom in The Good Life as The Goods snooty neighbour Margo Ledbetter Penelope Keith followed up with this show where she played Audrey fforbes-Hamilton an upperclass lady of the manor forced to sell off her beloved stately home Grantleigh Manor after the death of her husband.

She sells the estate to Supermarket magnate Richard DeVere (played wonderfully by Peter Bowles) and moves into a tiny cottage on the edge of the manor (the manor’s former gatehouse infact).

The first season, originally broadcast to very high ratings by the BBC in 1979, sets up the love-hate relationship between Audrey and DeVere very nicely and also introduces all the shows characters like Audrey’s best friend Marjory, her ageing and forgetful retainer Brabenger and the scrounging rector.

Rather fittingly the series also finished on a high with Audrey and Richard getting married and Audrey getting her beloved manor back into the bargain.

Somewhat surprisingly there was a one off revival of the series broadcast on Christmas Day 25 December 2007. This saw Audrey and Richard about to celebrate their silver wedding anniversary only to split up when Audrey learns that one of Richard’s businesses has been putting lots of local companies out of business. Richard of course then sets out trying to win his wife back. It was probably hoped that the special would lead to a series but realistically it was the kind of cosy sitcom that had sadly gone out of fashion with TV makers.

The series was filmed at Cricket St Thomas in Somerset (where the Manor house featured was actually owned by Peter Spence’s father-in-law).

cast
Penelope Keith as Audrey Fforbes-Hamilton
Peter Bowles as Richard DeVere
Angela Thorne as Margery Frobisher
Daphne Heard as Mrs Polouvicka
John Rudling as Brabinger
Gerald Sim as Rector
Michael Bilton as Ned

 

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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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