Monday, 30 November 2015
First watched : March 1976
A sizeable gap in the vintage TV Times editions available for 1976 on the Radio Sounds Familiar website meant we went past this until a reference back to it in the wikipedia page for another series jogged my memory. I'm sure this will happen again.
Moses the Law-giver was a joint Anglo-Italian enterprise, an expensive mini-series screened around Easter-time 1976. It starred Burt Lancaster in the title role as the volatile Biblical patriarch and his own son William as his younger self. Brit stalwart Anthony Quayle played Aaron and after that there were no really big names - in the UK at least. The Italians didn't take any of the big parts and little-known Israelis played many of the speaking roles.
The story of Moses is one of the best Biblical narratives you could pick for this sort of treatment with 10 plagues, a burning bush, golden calf , manna from Heaven and of course the parting of the Red Sea to challenge the director and special effects crew. I recall the latter miracle being particularly impressive.
I also remember Laurent Terzieff as young Pharoah Meneptah and Yosef Shiloach as the treacheous Dathan being particularly good as the villains. Otherwise I recall it being slightly ponderous although I guess if you're going to dramatize 40 years of wandering in the desert that is going to be difficult to avoid.
Sunday, 29 November 2015
First watched : Uncertain
I'm not sure whether I caught some of this when it was first broadcast in the spring of 1975 or when it was repeated on Sunday teatimes early in 1977. I suspect the latter. Whichever it was I didn't watch it religiously but dipped into it towards the end of the series as the rest of the family were glued.
Although its production was almost certainly facilitated by the success of Upstairs Downstairs , Edward the Seventh started its own trend ( as we shall see ) of lengthy period dramas based on historical personages. This one was based on Philip Magnus's biography of the early twentieth century monarch and was produced by ATV..
The title is slightly misleading because of course Edward was restricted to a relatively short reign by the longevity of his mother Queen Victoria and so for nine of the thirteen episodes he's just Prince Bertie. Across the series the main character is actually Queen Victoria as played by Annette Crosbie.
Although the costumes were lavish, the budget for the series was not unlimited and the series was largely studio-bound with limited outdoor scenes. Many of the sets are clearly painted backdrops. Major historical events are largely conveyed by the likes of Palmerston popping by the Palace to tell Victoria and Albert about them. Although Edward is played by three different actors ( four if you count the baby ), many of the other characters had to be portrayed by the same person and look wrong at times. Felicity Kendal for instance is clearly too old to be playing Princess Victoria as a fifteen-year-old. Robert Hardy's too old for Prince Albert at the start but grows into the part despite a dodgy German accent.
The series took pride in being as historically accurate as possible although there were limits to this. Edward's sexual adventures had to be largely skated over to make it suitable for family viewing and there's perhaps a bit too much foreshadowing of World War One in the later episodes with Christopher Neame playing the Kaiser as a pantomime villain.
Despite these limitations the series was a big success which spawned a number of imitations.
Playing the mature Edward was a career-making role for Timothy West whose father Lockwood had played King Edward in Upstairs Downstairs and both Crosbie and Hardy benefited from the increased exposure the series gave them.
Saturday, 28 November 2015
First watched : Uncertain
I've no idea when I first caught this. I know I was already familiar with Popeye from a comic although I can't now remember which title ( Cor ? Whizzer and Chips ? ). I never liked it , much finding the character repulsive. Maybe that's just because I'm slightly built and find tattoed machismo intimidating. I can't say I'm too keen on spinach either.
Friday, 27 November 2015
First watched : 25 Februrary 1977
This particular episode was about joining and fastening. And that concludes the list of programmes watched over that particular half-term.
Thursday, 26 November 2015
First watched : 25 February 1977
A Job Worth Doing ? was as the title suggests a careers programme. The episode broadcast on the date we were watching was entitled "Caring for Children" which surely rendered the question mark unnecessary. Let's hope not too many paedophiles were watching.
Wednesday, 25 November 2015
First watched : 25 February 1977
Another morning round at John's but this time it seems we switched to BBC One for the schools programmes. First up was Athlete which was about pole vaulting that day. I'd like to say it inspired me to take up the sport and excel but sadly that wasn't the case. I'm not where I could have gone to pursue such an interest as we didn't do it at school.
Monday, 23 November 2015
First watched : 24 February 1977
I'm a bit more confident that I first watched this day time staple in John's house.
Crown Court was usually broadcast three days a week and was brilliantly simple in concept. A fictitious legal case - once it had got to court - would be dramatised into three half-hour parts . Granada TV would then select a real jury from the electoral register to listen to the arguments and come up with a verdict - Equity rules meant that the foreman had to be an actor though, The series took advantage of the inherent theatrical qualities of the courtroom and of course was very cheap to make as the set never changed.
By lucky coincidence the very episode we watched is on Youtube. It was the third concluding part of a story called "A Matter of Faith" where a supposed faith healer took the husband of one of his clients to court after being described as a fraud in a radio broadcast. Watching it again rang no bells at all but there again the diary says nothing about how attentively we were watching; it's quite likely we gave it just the occasional glance whilst playing a game of chess.
What I did note was some high quality acting from familiar faces. John Barron ( C.J. from Reginald Perrin ) was the droll judge and Richard Wilson was outstanding as the defendant's barrister. There were also a few cutaways to a very young ( and very attractive ) Gwyneth Strong ( Cassandra from Only Fools And Horses ) who I presume played a bigger part in the earlier instalments. Incidentally, the jury found for the defendant.
The one episode I do recall clearly was viewed some years later. With the help of imdb I have determined it was broadcast on 17 June 1982. I don't remember being ill around then but I did have O Level exams in Sociology and General Studies around that time so I'm guessing we might have been given the afternoon off after one of those. It was the final part of a story called "The Fiddling Connection" and starred Kevin Lloyd as a supermarket employee accused of dishonesty. He turned the tables on his employers and, conducting his own defence, exposed their fraudulent practice of "buncing" i.e adding a fictitious item , such as a tin of spaghetti hoops, to the bill when a customer came to the checkout with a full trolley. Watch out for that when you next go to Asda ! He got off. Now I think about it I recall another story where a washed-up actor had resorted to shoplifting but I can't recall the real actor's name to look it up.
Crown Court ran from 1972 ( the year Crown Courts replaced their medieval predecessors ) until 1984. I'm surprised, given the talent involved, that it's not more celebrated. It seems to have survived in the archives more or less intact and has been re-run on minor satellite channels over the last decade.
Sunday, 22 November 2015
First watched : 24 February 1977
I can't say with absolutely certainty that I did see this for the first time in John's house. I think it's quite possible that I may have seen the odd episode at school before that.
How We Used To Live was made by Yorkshire Television and broadcast in the For Schools and Colleges strand. As the title suggests it focused on social history and spliced together drama set in the fictional Yorkshire town of Bradley and archive footage with a voice over. As a schools programme a resource pack for teachers was produced for each series. Altogether 15 series were made between 1968 and 2002 with the intervals between them getting much shorter towards the end . Inevitably Tony Robinson got involved with the programme towards the end of its run.
We could only have been watching Series 1 or 2 in 1977. I suspect it was the latter which covered the first half of the twentieth century including both World Wars.
Because the series has not been released on DVD, the VHS releases in the mid-nineties have become quite collectable.
Saturday, 21 November 2015
First watched : 23 February 1977
This is another one that required prompting from the diary.
"Rooms" was a daytime soap produced between 1974 and 1977 by Thames Television that inverted the premise of Crossroads by concentrating on the transient occupants of a lodging house rather than the staff. Of the few regular members of the cast the most notable was Jill Gascoigne. Although the cast over the series' life includes many famous names it's now almost entirely forgotten and I would include myself in that.
Friday, 20 November 2015
First watched : 23 February 1977
Well I have to admit this isn't one I'd have recalled without the diary entry.
This was a children's comedy concerning an upper middle class family whose kids hide a horse in a wing of their mansion to stop it being sold to an Arab millionaire.It lasted for two six-part series and is most notable, if at all, for the appearance in the second series of Peter Postlethwaite as Uncle Doug.
Thursday, 19 November 2015
First watched : 23 February 1977
Ah now this is where having the diary is going to be very useful. It's revealed that this was the time John, the lad next door cut his knee at school and it went a bit nasty, leaving him unable to walk during the half term. His mum , never usually keen on having other kids in the house , invited me in to keep him company as he sat on the sofa with his leg propped up. So I spent the next few days playing board games and watching telly ( ITV ) at his house ( I wonder if he remembers that ) . And I've listed what we watched.
So we begin with Mr and Mrs . This long running quiz show was noted for originally being made separately by three different regions which seems ruinously wasteful. Granada bought the Border version with the obsequious Derek Batey ( who was actually Assistant Controller of Programmes at Border as host) . The format was simple, test how much couples knew each other by asking one spouse some random questions when the other couldn't hear and then see how closely they matched when he/she was brought back. Cash prizes were on offer. It was slightly smutty at times, usually lightly embarrassing and always rather naff but entertaining enough on a boring afternoon. I don't think I ever watched it much afterwards.
The show originally ended in 1988 but there was a satellite channel revival in 1995 which ran for three years then a Julian Clary-hosted one in 1999 which lasted a year. After retiring to Florida Batey returned to the UK and died in 2013 aged 84.
Monday, 16 November 2015
First watched : 5th February 1977
My mum had been watching this on Saturday nights after we'd gone to bed for a while . I've got a Boots Scribbling diary for 1977, the only year where I religiously kept it up for the full twelve months , and the entry for 5th February 1977 reads "Mum let me stay up to watch Starsky and Hutch " which would indicate it was the first time. This of course coincided with David Soul ( Hutch ) being at the top of the UK charts with Don't Give Up On Us Baby. The irony of Hutch getting all that teenybop attention was that. if the 11-13 year old girls at my school were anything to go by, it was Paul Michael Glaser ( Starsky ) who was the real heart-throb.
Starsky and Hutch emerged a couple of years after the demise of Alias Smith and Jones and transferred the idea of two young male buddies to a crime-ridden neighbourhood of 1970s Southern California and put them on the right side of the law as police detectives. It broke new ground by making them subordinate to an Afro-American police chief, Captain Dobie ( Bernie Hamilton ) . The series also tapped into contemporary urban black culture with the character of streetwise informer Huggy Bear ( Antonio Fargas ) and a jazz funk soundtrack including the memorable theme tune.
Soul and Glaser were capable young actors who hadn't quite capitalised on early breaks. Soul was best known as the leader of the vigilante rookie cops in Magnum Force while Glaser had a good role in Fiddler On The Roof as a student revolutionary. They gelled perfectly as the unlikely pair; Starsky being an impulsive Jewish New Yorker and Hutch a more laid back mid-Westerner.
The series quickly established itself as both the most exciting and the funniest - the episode where they're hunting a supposed vampire is absolutely hilarious - of the seventies detective shows. However after the second series ended in 1977 a widespread concern about the effects of TV violence led the producers to tone down the action and delve into the pair's personal lives to a greater extent. While still highly watchable the series did lose some of its edge after that.
Although he approved of the changes Glaser became increasingly dissatisfied with the show and throughout the latter two series the producers struggled to keep him on board , making a number of contingency plans to keep the series going if he bailed out. Glaser's desire to quit became public knowledge and the audience for the final series began to drift away. He therefore got his wish when a proposed fifth series was cancelled in 1979.
Neither of the pair have had a particularly easy time since then. After a run in so-so TV movies and mini-series, Soul ended up in jail for alcohol-fuelled domestic abuse in 1987 although he has resurrected his acting career in England which led to his bizarre involvement in the 1997 General Election campaign in the constituency of Tatton. Glaser's preferred career as a director largely ran into the ground after The Running Man in 1987 and he lost both a wife and child to AIDS. Fargas has maintained a steady career as an actor while Hamilton more or less retired in the mid-eighties and pursued a low-key career in music until his death in 2008.
Sunday, 15 November 2015
First watched : January 1977
This long-running natural history series, starting out at 8.30 pm on a Friday, was really just BBC Two's The World About Us trimmed down to 30 minutes and of course depended on how interested you were in the animals being examined. I'm not really one for birds so may not have caught the first episode about the goony bird but the second one was a film about sharks with underwater filming kingpins Ron and Valerie Taylor ( who also featured in many Survival episodes on ITV ) so I'm very likely to have tuned in for that one.
The programme was usually narrated by David Attenborough and came to an end in 2005, probably because the 78-year old legend needed to lessen his workload.
Saturday, 14 November 2015
First watched : Uncertain
As the least violent and lightest in tone of the US detective series The Rockford Files moved around the early evening schedules a fair bit and I'm not sure when I first caught it.
The Rockford Files started in 1974. One of its creators Roy Huggins had worked with James Garner on the successful Maverick ( 1957-62 ) and wanted to place him in a more contemporary setting. Jim Rockford was an ex-con ( wrongly accused of course ) making a precarious living as a private eye in Malibu, California. The contrast between the opulent setting and Jim's down-at-heel lifestyle in a trailer on a parking lot - slightly undermined by his driving a Pontiac Firebird - was one of the hallmarks of the series. The other main characters were his dad Rocky ( Noah Beery ) always involved in the case one way or another and his lugubrious friend in the police force Dennis ( Joe Santos ) who often had to go out on a limb for him. The series was also blessed with a memorable opening sequence - after a usually completely irrelevant answering machine message for Jim the screen would explode with a photo- montage of Jim in action set to Mike Post's dynamic theme played on (now ) vintage synthesiser.
Garner was always an actor of great charm and it was likable enough but I found it frustratingly lightweight compared to Kojak or Cannon.
It finished in 1979 when Garner took medical advice to quit because of the toll it was taking on his knees. He and Universal then spent the next decade suing each other. It was resolved enough to allow a string of TV movies to be made in the nineties although Beery died after filming the first one in 1994. Garner died last year.
Friday, 13 November 2015
First watched : 1977
To say this ran for four series, you don't hear much about it these days do you ?
Rosie was another Yorkshire-set Roy Clarke creation. It concerned a young police constable Michael Penrose ( Paul Greenwood ) trying to pursue his career despite an over-protective family and bonkers , over-possessive girlfriend doing their best to get in the way. Rosie actually followed on from an earlier series The Growing Pains of P C Penrose which was broadcast in 1975 in a later time slot. That featured the same main character but was more station-based in a South Yorkshire mining town and didn't feature his family. It didn't quite work so Clarke revamped the series , having Penrose transferred to Scarborough on compassionate grounds to be closer to his bogusly invalid mother ( Avril Elgar ). This series gave much more time to his private life and he didn't usually get out on the beat with droll partner Wilmot ( Tony Haygarth ) until at least halfway through the episode.
Like Last of the Summer Wine , Rosie relied on eccentric characters coming out with amusing non-sequiturs rather than particularly witty scripts or farcical situations. I think it was meant to be gentle and wry but didn't really come across that way. Greenwood was not a comic actor and with his gaunt features and most of his lines consisting of sarcastic putdowns he wasn't very sympathetic and so the series had a rather sour, slightly misogynistic tone to it. That's perhaps why nobody seems to have a great affection for it.
Having said that Rosie was perhaps more influential than we realise. Little Britain of course picked up the idea of the relative who was putting it on a bit and Rosie's self-absorbed inner monologues lead straight to Peep Show ; by strange coincidence Frankie Jordan who played his girlfriend both looked, and particularly sounded, like Dobby.
The series ended in 1981. Greenwood still works as an actor although Haygarth has been the busier of the two.
Thursday, 12 November 2015
First watched : 29 December 1976
I'd have put this one as being broadcast during my primary school days but obviously not.
The Phoenix and The Carpet was an eight part adaptation of a children's novel by Edwardian writer E Nesbit ( most famous for The Railway Children ) and concerned four children whose mother buys an old carpet which is found to contain a china egg. They accidentally hatch it and encounter a conceited 2.000 year old bird who instructs them on how to make the carpet fly to interesting places . The tone of the series was lightly comic as it probably needed to be with the rudimentary special effects; the phoenix looked like it had flown in from the set of Bagpuss. I remember it as being quite enjoyable.
None of the four actors were or became household names. Gary Russell has made a living on the fringes of the Dr Who scene with some factual books on the series and comic strips for magazines but hasn't done any acting since 1997.
Monday, 9 November 2015
First watched : Autumn 1976
The Gemini Man was basically a re-boot of the previous year's The Invisible Man with less expensive special effects ingeniously explained by the titular agent's inability to stay invisible for more than 15 minutes of the day. The main part of Sam Casey was played by Ben Murphy fresh from Alias Smith and Jones but a second big TV hit was to elude him. The Gemini Man was even shorter-lived than its predecessor. Only eleven episodes were made and in the US it was pulled after only five had been shown. Over here it was allowed to run its course but has left little impression.
Sunday, 8 November 2015
First watched : Autumn 1976
Another one requiring a memory correction. I remembered the week night correctly ( Tuesdays ) but not the channel ( ITV ) or the season ( I thought it was earlier in the year ).
The Scouse comic first appeared on TV in the series The Comedians in 1971 but didn't make a big impression and his big break came four years later with a three week winning run on Opportunity Knocks . After that the TV work came flooding in both for stand-up slots and gameshow host roles. He then got his own half-hour show mixing stand-up routines with the odd star guest.
I perceived at the time that Tom wasn't quite in the first rank of comedians but he was amusing enough and usually the best choice on a ropey night for TV. Although the show didn't last long he has managed to keep his career going right through to the present time.
In 1992 Tom blotted his copy book by being one of those celebrities who came out in favour of the Tories during the election campaign. The other two I recall were fellow talent show winner Patti Boulaye and that arch-plaigiarist Andrew Lloyd-Webber and I theorised that the genuinely talented don't vote Tory because they have the confidence that they can recoup anything lost to the taxman while the chancers who've had a lucky break are keen to hold on to what they've got in case it all goes pear-shaped.
Saturday, 7 November 2015
First watched : 2 October 1976
Although I don't regard this show with special affection it does seem like another milestone emerging through the murk of childhood memory. I had not long started secondary school but there's a more particular memory associated with the programme. During the summer my mum had become concerned at a couple of speech defects I apparently had. One was pronouncing r's as w's Roy Jenkins-style ; the other th's as f's. The latter could be corrected by a few sessions with a speech therapist but the former was caused by my tongue being too firmly anchored and I had to have a simple operation to free it up a bit requiring general anaesthetic at Rochdale Infirmary.
Genome has confirmed the date of the operation to be Friday 8th October 1976. I know this because my mum said I would have to stay in all day on the Saturday after having anaesthetic and my consolation - along with my first packet of Top Trumps ( Locomotives which I still have ) - was being able to watch the whole of the exciting new programme which I'd caught the tail end of the week before.
Before Multi-Coloured Swap Shop Saturday mornings were a graveyard slot largely occupied by repeated cartoons and vintage comedy films ( Laurel and Hardy, Chaplin , Abbott and Costello etc ). The cartoons were incorporated into the Swap Shop ( the "Multi-Coloured" was dropped after a while ) format but with colour TV now the norm ( not for us yet ), the old films largely disappeared from BBC1 from this point.
It's hard to recall what exactly captivated me on first viewing the show. Perhaps it was just the sheer length of the show; it seemed like a major triumph that a children's show had been given most of the morning rather than being squeezed in between Nai Zindagi and the cricket. I would also have been pleased to see a familiar face from Top of the Pops at the helm.
This of course was the beginning of Noel Edmunds's rise to the top of the telly tree. For all the brickbats thrown his way over the years, the abstemious ultra-professional took command of an unprecedented three-hour kids' show completely live and reliant on technology working and children behaving themselves. And he nailed it completely ; Ant and Dec acknowledge him as the Godfather of their art.
His three main co-presenters are all still working in TV today, another reason why it doesn't seem too long ago. I suppose Keith Chegwin , a mildly successful child actor who'd been in Polanski's Macbeth , took his cues from the Play School presenters, but they were in a studio. He was out in the rain and cold, bringing his manic enthusiasm from some car park in the provinces where kids gathered to swap their Action Man for a Mastermind game and his style seemed astonishingly fresh. Of course he later married Maggie Philbin who joined the programme from series 3 onwards. Making up the quartet was Newsround presenter John Craven, basically doing an extended version of his weekday slot, though he was allowed to show a lighter side in his banter with Noel.
The first show had repeats of Hong Kong Phooey and Land of the Dinosaurs, pop guests Harpo and Flintlock ( not exactly a great start ) , a cookery slot with Delia Smith, star guest Elisabeth Sladen and of course the swap board allowing viewers to phone in with their offers though you had to be pretty quick to respond.
There was also an appearance by 15 year old Peter Gardiner who collected light bulbs, an item which came to be seen as typical of the show. One lad infamously appeared accompanied by his collection of World War 2 artifacts with a Nazi flag draped over the couch behind him. There was a perception that Swap Shop favoured the same sort of middle class kids that appeared on Ask The Family. On the other hand you could view it as giving the geek a chance to shine.
Inevitably with the magazine format there'd be items that were less absorbing than others and I remember that, even while watching that second edition, my interest started to flag before the end. I don't know if it was on that particular episode but early on they had patrician newsreader Richard Baker on the couch discussing what piece of classical music would best suit a small film of a kitten playing and I remember thinking what child is going to find this entertaining ?
So after that I rarely watched the whole show and it wasn't long before I found something much better to do on Saturday mornings. By co-incidence that ended ( something I've never fully come to terms with ) pretty much at the same time Swap Shop did ( March 1982 ) when Noel moved into adult TV with The Late Late Breakfast Show . Except it didn't really end there. The remaining trio were all re-engaged to work on successor show Saturday Superstore with Edmunds-wannabe Mike Read ( the two men are not exactly bosom buddies ). The swapping element was ditched but otherwise it was pretty much the same show and the formula has endured through the decades.
I'm aware I've ignored the elephant in the room that usually crops up whenever Swap Shop is discussed but for me, apart from length and time slot, that show had little in common with it and it was more or less a coincidence they emerged together.
Thursday, 5 November 2015
First watched : Uncertain
This is the first regional ( i.e North West ) only programme to appear here. This Is Your Right was a nightly five minute consumer bulletin in the Granada region. It was presented by doctor and politician Michael Winstanley who was briefly an MP during its run ( in 1974 ) and then, as Baron Winstanley, a life peer from 1976 onwards. It was discontinued in 1986, seven years before Winstanley's death.
It seemed dull as ditchwater at the time but now seems like something else of which the pre-92 Granada could be proud.
Monday, 2 November 2015
First watched : September 1976
This extremely popular sitcom was into its third series by the time we caught up with it in the 8.30 pm slot on a Friday night. Written by Esmonde and Larbey the team behind Please Sir , it concerned a 40 year old man Tom Good ( Richard Briers ) deciding to quit his job as a draughtsman and live a self-sufficient lifestyle in the heart of Surbiton with long-suffering wife Barbara ( Felicity Kendal ). The prospect of animals roaming around the garden next door appalls stroppy social climbing neighbour Margot ( Penelope Keith ) to the secret delight of henpecked husband Jerry ( Paul Eddington ) .
There were four series between 1975 and 1978 with two specials, the last a Royal Command Performance in front of the Queen. Only Briers was well known beforehand but all four became stars and went on to starring roles in subsequent sitcoms.
The series has had its knockers. It was resolutely middle class with none of the characters' little dilemmas very important in the overall scheme of things and the lovey-dovey relations between and across the couples now appear too saccharin. More specifically Keith's character has been accused of softening up the nation for Thatcher. See here for instance ( I'm right about the number of series btw) or here. Which is all good fun like the programme itself.
Sunday, 1 November 2015
First watched : September 1976
Kojak made a huge impact when first screened in the UK in the summer of 1974 culminating in its star, bald character actor Telly Savalas topping the singles chart with his murmured version of Bread's If in the early months of 1975, surely one of the worst number ones of all time. At school one lad in my class got upset when he was teased about his dad's lack of hair so mention of the series was banned. Because of its time slot it was something only Mum watched until it got an 8.10 pm slot on a Thursday in September 1976.
Savalas was the titular police lieutenant in South Manhattan, conscientious but not above bending the rules slightly to get his man. His boss Frank McNeil ( Dan Frazer ) was generally supportive and he had a loyal team of detectives , the impetuous Crocker ( Kevin Dobson ) , the interchangeable Saperstein and Rizzo and dopey lump Stavros played by Savalas's real-life brother George . The relationship was initially disguised by George being credited as "Demosthenes" in the cast list.
What I liked about Kojak in contrast to later police series was that it concentrated on the investigation in hand rarely delving into the private lives or back stories of the detectives unless they impinged directly on the case. The dialogue was dense and full of New York street slang so it wasn't always that easy to follow but you usually got the sense by the end. Along with The Streets of San Francisco on the other channel it made urban America seem a pretty frightening place.
Kojak was pulled in 1978 to Savalas's dismay due to falling ratings though there was a string of TV movies running from 1985 to 1990 . Savalas died of cancer in 1994 putting paid to any more though there was a one series revival of the show with Ving Rhames in the role in 2005 . I'm not sure that was screened in the UK.
George had died of leukemia aged 60 in 1985 having spent the years after the series ended touring as a performer of Greek songs. Frazer died in 2011 leaving Dobson, still a working TV actor at 72, the only survivor of the four main players.