Freewheelers

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ITV (ended 1973)

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Freewheelers

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Freewheelers was broadcast on the ITV network in the UK from 1968 until 1973 and was made by Southern Television. It was the brain child of producer Chris McMaster whose premise was to create a teenage version of the James Bond movies - abeit on a much tighter budget! Its principal star (on and off) was Ronald Leigh-Hunt who played British spymaster Colonel Buchan. It was he who "recruited" adventurous teenagers over the years to assist him in his fight against sundry enemy spies and mad scientists. For the first three series, Buchan's arch nemesis was von Gelb, a Nazi for whom World War Two had never ended - played by Geoffrey Toone. When Leigh-Hunt was not available for some serials, he was deputised by the likes of Eric Flynn, Ray Armstrong and Bernard Horsfall. Amongst the many teenage co-stars on the show were Tom Owen (son of the late Bill Owen and a current star in Last of the Summer Wine), Chris Chittell (now better known as Emmerdale's Eric Pollard), ex-EastEnders copper Leonard Gregory and former Doctor Who assistant Wendy Padbury who had played Zoe in the long running BBC drama serial. Freewheelers ran for eight popular series with the first three broadcast in black and white. Many episodes though have been lost over the years but a selection of the first two seasons together with entire runs of six, seven and eight still exist. The remaining colour episodes were last screened in the UK by The Children's Channel in the early nineties.moreless
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