Saturday, 17 June 2017
712 Travelling Man
First viewed : July 1985
This is one that got away for me. I saw odd bits of it when the first season was repeated in the summer of 1985 and was intrigued but it was on too late and for most of the second season I was living in a house without a TV.
Travelling Man was made by Granada. It was written by Roger Marshall one of the original team on The Avengers. Leigh Lawson played Max Lomax, an ex-policeman who has recently been released from stir after being framed for a drugs offence . He retreats to his narrowboat Harmony on the Cheshire Ring , observed by various parties who believe he has access to a stash of money. Max is looking for both his son Stephen and the man who framed him and this is the overarching narrative although Max has diversionary adventures along the way so that many of the episodes are self-contained. There are obvious similarities to Out and The Fugitive and Shoestring were also influences.
What made Travelling Man unique was the setting, the grim storylines working themselves out against the picturesque and lesisurely-paced lifestyle of the canal traveller although unfortunately it was all shot on VT. The series was successful and the haunting theme tune was a minor hit for Duncan Browne but a third season had to be scrapped because Lawson fell out with the producers.
The series also introduced some young talent. Alan Cumming made his TV debut in one episode as Max's pal Jamie and it also provided my first sighting of Kate Hardie as jailbait Susie.