Thursday, 7 April 2016
372 Dick Turpin
First viewed : January 1979
Dick Turpin was another feature of those wintry Saturday evenings of early 1979. It was the latest series written by Richard Carpenter ( Catweazle, The Ghosts of Motley Hall ) and followed Harrison Ainsworth in romanticising the eighteenth century highwayman.
Carpenter's Turpin ( Richard O' Sullivan ) is basically Robin Hood moved on six centuries, an unjustly disinherited soldier who takes to the road to take on a corrupt establishment in the form of rapacious squire Sir John Glutton ( Christopher Benjamin ) and his hatchet man Captain Spiker ( David Daker ). To draw in the kids he had a young apprentice Swiftnick ( Michael Deeks ) he often had to rescue. He sometimes found time to help out damsels in distress such as Phyllida ( the lovely Julie Dawn Cole above ).
The series looked good and was clean escapist fun giving O ' Sullivan a chance to stretch his wings in a more or less straight role. Only two 13 episode series were made in 1979-80 plus a star laden feature length story. For some reason the second series was curtailed after seven episodes in 1980 , the TV film broadcast as a five part serial in 1981 then the six unseen episodes shown as a final series in 1982.
O' Sullivan's sad decline has been well publicised but Deeks just gave up on acting after an appearance in The Bill in 1994.