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    Fawlty Towers

    Fawlty Towers

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    BBC Two (ended 1979)
    The genesis of Fawlty Towers came when John Cleese and the rest of the Pythons went filming in the Southwest of England in May 1971. They were scheduled to spend two weeks at the Gleneagles in Torquay, but cut their stay to one night. It all had to do with the "wonderfully rude" hotel manager, the late Donald Sinclair. Sinclair hated all the guests who had the shortsightedness to stay in the Gleneagles. Worse, Sinclair was only 5'4" and was married to a large, domineering wife. Cleese turned Sinclair into a character for a Doctor in the House script for the BBC in 1973. This was just after Cleese had finished his TV chores on Monty Python's Flying Circus. Cleese wanted to strike out with his now-separated wife, Connie Booth, so the BBC gave both the offer to do a series. It didn't take long at all for Cleese and Booth to make the series out of that Torquay hotel, which they named Fawlty Towers. Cleese cast himself as manager Basil Fawlty, who felt that the main nuisances in a hotel were the guests. Wife Sybil Fawlty was Basil's equal and opposite, the competent co-owner who could lash out at Basil and win on the first stroke. ("We reversed the sizes [of manager and wife]," said the 6'4" Cleese.) Rounding out the regular staff at Fawlty Towers were Andrew Sachs as Manuel, the dumb waiter from Barcelona who could not make sense of Basil's commands (¿Qué?), and Connie Booth as Polly, whose calmness was sorely tested in each of Basil's schemes and cover-ups. While most sitcom writers spend two weeks turning out an episode, John Cleese and Connie Booth spent six weeks writing each episode of Fawlty Towers. Cleese said each program started with two or three plot threads, which start parallel, but begin to intertwine. The best shows, of course, are those in which the plot threads touch at the end. The production team spent nearly an hour editing each minute of every program, spending up to 25 hours on each show. With such intense work put into each episode, Fawlty Towers drew raves around the world, exceeding the success of Monty Python's Flying Circus in some countries. But Cleese limited the run of Fawlty Towers to approximately twelve shows. He did not want to diminish the impact Fawlty Towers has had. And there has been plenty of impact. America tried three times to regenerate the show, none of which worked. The best U.S. homage to the show may be a hotel called "Fawlty Towers" in Cocoa Beach, Florida (near Ron Jon's Surf Shop). Its owners have adopted the pseudonyms Basil and Sybil. The show won 3 BAFTA Awards and one Broadcasting Press Guild Award. Despite being very short - lived and not airing too often, Fawlty Towers is recognised as one of the greatest British TV shows of all time. It was ranked #5 in the British Comedy Guide's list of Top 50 British Sitcoms. Fawlty Towers was voted #1 In the British Film Instuite TV 100. Other awards the show has won are; 'The Royal Television Society Programme Awards'for outstanding creative achievements which went to John Cleese in May 1976, In April 1982, the two episodes of Fawlty Towers that were used as training films won a Queens Award for Export Acheivement, In 2001 the new Fawlty Towers DVD set won the 'Quality Street DVD award' for being the best comedy on DVD, Basil Fawlty was recognised as the most Monstrous Boss on British TV in May 2003 by UK Satellite Channel UK Gold, just beating David Brent from The Office. Fawlty Towers has aired in over 60 countries in places like Tonga, China, Pakistan, Latvia, Malta and Denmark.moreless
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    Horizon

    Horizon

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    BBC Two
    Horizon is BBC Two's flagship 50-minute science documentary series. In September 2004 it celebrated its 40th anniversary and it continues to enjoy outstanding critical acclaim. Recognised as the world leader in its field, it regularly wins a sweep of international science, medical and environmental film accolades, and has recently won the Royal Television Society Award and the Prix Italia. In 2002, the British Academy of Film & Television Arts presented Horizon with the BAFTA Television Award for Best Factual Series or Strand. In 2003 it won the prestigious Images et Science award for best medical documentary and the Carl von Linne Award at the Living Europe film festival in Sweden. That year, a Horizon co-production with WGBH Boston won the Emmy for best documentary.moreless
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    Law and Order (1978)

    Law and Order (1978)

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    BBC Two (ended 1978)
    Law and Order was a highly-controversial drama series looking at the legal system through the sequence of events from the commission of a crime, through the police investigation and trial to the imprisonment of the man convicted of that crime. Individual episodes related these events from the perspectives of those involved, and highlighted the corruption and cynicism of police officers, lawyers and prison staff.moreless
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    Life on Earth

    Life on Earth

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    BBC Two (ended 1979)
    British naturalist David Attenborough examines the diversity and origins of "life on earth." As is usual with David Attenborough's work, the camera work is outstanding and employed techniques which were ground-breaking in their day. Also, as is his custom, Mr. Attenborough filmed this series in locations all across the world. ----------------------- Release dates UK 16 January 1979 ---------------------- Runtime: 702 min (13 parts) Country: UK Language: English Color: Colour Sound Mix: Mono ------------------------------------ Production Companies * British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) (BBC Bristol) * Reiner Moritz Productions (in association with) * Warner Bros. (in association with) Distributors * British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) (1979) (UK) (TV) Other Companies * London Scientific Films photography (episode "First Forests, The") * Mantis Wildlife Films photography * Oxford Scientific Films Ltd. photography * Royal Society for the Protection of Birds Film Unit photography (episode "Lords of the Air") (as R.S.P.B.) --------------------------------- Alternate Versions: * The original home video release was severely edited down to fit on two video tapes, meaning half or more of the original broadcast was omitted. ========================== Awards BAFTA Awards -- 1980 -- Nominated Best Factual Series: Christopher Parsons, John Sparks, Richard Brock Best Film Cameraman: Maurice Fisher "camera team" Best Film Editor: Ron Martin Best Film Sound: Lyndon Bird =========================== CREW: Original Music by Edward Williams Cinematography by Scott Altenbach (some scenes) (episode "Theme and Variations") Bryan Anderson (some scenes) (episode "First Forests, The") (episode "Theme and Variations") Stephen Bolwell (some scenes) (episode "Invasion of the Land") Walter Deas (some scenes) (episode "Infinite Variety, The") (episode "Conquest of the Waters") Ronald Eastman (additional photography) (episode "The Hunters and Hunted") (some scenes) (episode "The First Forests, The") (episode "Swarming Hordes, The") (episode "Victors of the Dry Land") (episode "Lords of the Air") (episode "Compulsive Communicators") (as Ron Eastman) Maurice Fisher (some scenes) Chris Fryman (some scenes) (episode "Building Bodies") (episode "Life in the Trees") Umberto Galeassi (some scenes) (episode "The Compulsive Communicators") Al Giddings (some scenes) (episode "Conquest of the Waters") Ray Henman (some scenes) (episode "The Rise of the Mammals") David Hughes (some scenes) (episode "Invasion of the Land") (episode "Victors of the Dry Land") (episode "Lords of the Air") Rodger Jackman (some scenes) (episode "Building Bodies") (episode "First Forests, The") (episode"Swarming Hordes, The") (episode "Conquest of the Waters") (episode "Invasion of the Land") (episode "Rise of the Mammals, The") (episode "Theme and Variations") Hugh Miles (some scenes) (episode "The Hunters and Hunted, The") (episode "Compulsive Communicators") Paul Morris (some scenes) (episode "The Compulsive Communicators") Charles Nicklin (some scenes) (episode "Theme and Variations") David Parer (some scenes) (episode "The Lords of the Air") (episode "Rise of the Mammals") Peter Parks (some scenes) (episode "The Infinite Variety, The") (episode "Building Bodies") (episode "First Forests") Herman Rijksen (some scenes) (episode "Life in the Trees") (as Dr. Herman Rijksen) Jim Rutherford (some scenes) (episode "Building Bodies") Jim Saunders (some scenes) (episode "The Compulsive Communicators") Martin Saunders (some scenes) (episode "The Infinite Variety, The") (episode "Conquest of the Waters") (episode "Invasion of the Land") (episode "Victors of the Dry Land") (episode "Lords of the Air") (episode "Rise of the Mammals, The") (episode "Theme and Variations") (episode "Hunters and Hunted, The") (episode "Life in the Trees") (episode "Compulsive Communicators") Peter Scoones (some scenes) (episode "Invasion of the Land") Brian Sewell (some scenes) (episode "Theme and Variations") Doug Steen (some scenes) (episode "Building Bodies") Keith Taylor (some scenes) (episode "The Rise of the Mammals") Maurice Tibbles (additional photography) (episode "The Hunters and Hunted") (some scenes) (episode "Invasion of the Land") (episode "Victors of the Dry Land") (episode "Lords of the Air") (episode "Rise of the Mammals, The") (episode "Theme and Variations") (episode "Life in the Trees") Adrian Warren (some scenes) (episode "Lords of the Air") Stan Waterman (some scenes) (episode "Conquest of the Waters") (as Stanton Waterman) Film Editing by David Barret (episode "The Compulsive Communicators") Betty Block (episode "The Swarming Hordes") Alec Brown (episode "Building Bodies") (episode "The Compulsive Communicators") (episode "Conquest of the Waters") (episode "The First Forests") (episode "The Hunters and Hunted") (episode "The Infinite Variety") (episode "Invasion of the Land") (episode "Life in the Trees") (episode "Lords of the Air") (episode "The Rise of the Mammals") (episode "Theme and Variations") (episode "Victors of the Dry Land") Ron Martin Peter Simkins (episode "The Compulsive Communicators") Production Management Derek Anderson .... unit production manager (episode "The Compulsive Communicators") Rosanne Leigh .... unit production manager (episode "The Compulsive Communicators") Art Department Bob English .... graphic designer (episode "The Infinite Variety, The") (episode "Building Bodies") (episode "Swarming Hordes, The") (episode "Conquest of the Waters") (episode "Invasion of the Land") (episode "Victors of the Dry Land") (episode "Lords of the Air") (episode "Rise of the Mammals, The") (episode "Theme and Variations") (episode "Hunters and Hunted, The") (episode "Life in the Trees") (episode "Compulsive Communicators") Charles McGhie .... graphic designer (episode "The Infinite Variety") Maurice Wilson .... graphic designer (episode "The Compulsive Communicators") Sound Department Lyndon Bird .... sound Peter Copeland .... sound Rosemary Eastman .... sound (episode "Lords of the Air") Roger Long .... sound (episode "Invasion of the Land") Bob McDonnell .... sound (episode "The Rise of the Mammals") Other crew Richard Brock .... production team (episode "The Infinite Variety, The") (episode "Building Bodies") (episode "First Forests, The") (episode "Swarming Hordes") Marcus Dods .... conductor Dione Gilmour .... additional researcher (episode "The Rise of the Mammals") Mike Salisbury .... production team (episode "The Infinite Variety, The") (episode "Building Bodies") (episode "First Forests, The") (episode "Swarming Hordes") (as Michael Salisbury) John Sparks .... production team (episode "The Infinite Variety, The") (episode "Building Bodies") (episode "First Forests, The") (episode "Swarming Hordes")moreless
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    The Goodies

    The Goodies

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    BBC Two (ended 1982)
    Created, written and performed by comedians Bill Oddie, Graeme Garden and Tim Brooke-Taylor, The Goodies was a British comedy that ran for 9 seasons between November 1970 and February 1982 on the BBC. With the motto 'We do anything, anytime', The Goodies often found themselves dealing with all sorts of bizarre situations such as giant kittens, the Loch Ness monster, dodo birds, lighthouses, the destruction of the Earth, black puddings and beanstalks, just to name a few. The plot for most episodes was relatively simple: One member of the trio goes nuts and the other two desperately try to stop him. Using a unique blend of sketch comedy, slapstick and almost cartoon-like humour the show was often outrageously madcap, and only rarely failed to hit the mark. The Goodies have received something of a revival in recent years with selected episodes being released on DVD in the UK and Australia, and a number of live tours performed by the trio. In the U.S.A. the Goodies are often compared to the Three Stooges when fans are trying to describe the show to some one who has never seen it. You can see some of what made the Three Stooges so great in the things the Goodies do.moreless
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    I, Claudius

    I, Claudius

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    BBC Two (ended 1976)
    Welcome to the 'I, Claudius' guide at TV. com. This is the story about the emperors of Rome, from Augustus down to Nero (the last Claudian emperor of Rome), told by Claudius, an unlikely emperor. The show originally aired back in 1976, by BBC Television. The cast contains of a couple of Britains finest Shakespeare actors, including Derek Jacobi in the title role. A real classic.moreless
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    The Water Margin

    The Water Margin

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    BBC Two (ended 1978)
    The ancient sages said, "do not despise the snake for having no horns, for who is to say it will not become a dragon?". So may one just man become an army. Nearly a thousand years ago in ancient China, at the time of the Sung dynasty, there was a cruel and corrupt government. These men riding are outlaws - heroes - who have been driven to live in the Water Margins of Liang Shan Po, far to the south of the capital city. Each fights tyranny with a price on his head, in a world very different from our own. The story starts in legend even then - for our heroes, it was said, were perhaps the souls reborn of other, earlier knights...moreless
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    Old Grey Whistle Test

    Old Grey Whistle Test

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    BBC Two (ended 1987)
    British music series
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    Not the Nine O'Clock News

    Not the Nine O'Clock News

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    BBC Two (ended 1982)
    Not The Nine O'Clock News was a satirical show broadcast on BBC2 (UK) from 1979 to 1982. Noted for its topical sketches and skits, it made stars of Rowan Atkinson, Mel Smith, Griff Rhys-Jones and Pamela Stephenson.

    The show required a large number of writers, and to this end operated an "open door" policy, accepting sketch ideas from anybody who wanted to contribute. With a large number of contributing writers, there was plenty of material to go round, and only the best ideas made it to the screen; thus the series was able to maintain a remarkably high quality of material across four series.

    The series ended in 1982, partly due to the various cast members wanting to pursue their own projects instead. The format was subsequently copied in the USA where it became Not Necessarily the News.

    For those wishing to see Not The Nine O'Clock News on video, two VHS compilations are available: Nice Video Shame About The Hedgehog and The Gorilla Kinda Lingers. Both are deleted but should be easy enough to find. Three albums were also released: Not The Nine O'Clock News, compiled from the soundtracks of series 1+2; Hedgehog Sandwich taken from series 3, and The Memory Kinda Lingers, taken from series 4. The latter two albums are available as a combined long-play BBC cassette.moreless
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    Dave Allen at Large

    Dave Allen at Large

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    BBC Two (ended 1976)
    Stand up (or rather sit down) comedy accompanied by traditional sketches orchestrated by Irish comedian Dave Allen and his assembled group of actors. The show was very popular in the UK in the 1970s and was exported to the US where it became a minor success after being shown intermittently on American public television or as late-night filler on the local networks. Dave Allen's relaxed style of delivering stand up comedy remaining seated while enjoying a cigarette and having a glass of whiskey remains unique to this day. A few of his most popular recurring sketch characters include Robin Hood, King Arthur, Sherlock Holmes, James the Faithful Retainer, a Mexican Revolutionist and the Pope. Please note: These episode descriptions are based on how Dave Allen At Large was first run in the USA. When Dave first ran, he had thirty episodes and two specials at forty-five minutes each. The series was later edited and re-worked to fifty episodes at thirty minutes. When the original unedited episodes are finally made available to the public, this series will be updated accordingly.moreless
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    Thirty-Minute Theatre

    Thirty-Minute Theatre

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    BBC Two (ended 1973)
    Welcome to the Thirty-Minute Theatre guide at TV Tome. Of all the drama anthologies produced by the BBC in the 1960s and 1970s, "Thirty-Minute Theatre" is possibly the most forgotten and least documented. Not as big-budgeted or well-publicized as "The Wednesday Play" and "Play for Today," this series nevertheless displayed high-quality writing in both its adaptations and original scripts. Some of its notable writers include Dennis Potter, David Rudkin, John Mortimer, Roy Minton, Charlotte and Denis Plimmer, and Tom Stoppard. In its 9-year run, the series presented a broad spectrum of themes, styles, and subjects, with a mixture of drama, comedy, satire, social comment, and fantasy, racking up nearly 300 teleplays in the process. When the BBC launched its color service in late 1967, "Thirty-Minute Theatre" became the first BBC drama series to be produced and broadcast in color. The photo is from "The Chequers Manoeuvre."moreless
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    The Pallisers

    The Pallisers

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    BBC Two (ended 1974)
    Welcome to The Pallisers guide at TV.com. This epic length dramatization of six of Anthony Trollope's great novels-often called the best sequence of fiction based on British Parliamentary life-is one of the crown jewels of the Golden Age British period drama. The story follows the fortunes of the youthful Glencora and Plantagenet from the marriage that was forced on them through the joys and heartbreaks of both their personal and public lives over the years. Other characters, most notably Phineas Finn, come into their lives and the intrigue, scandal, loves and loss that each encounter adds depth and richness to the story. The BBC spared no expense on this production, thus, the acting, costuming, sets and locations are all extraordinary and help us move easily into this world of the Victorians. As episode after episode pass by we get caught up in the drama and passions of their lives. We look forward to seeing what will happen to them next and when the series comes to an end we feel a bit sad that they won't be stopping by anymore.moreless
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    Out of the Unknown

    Out of the Unknown

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    BBC Two (ended 1971)
    Out Of The Unknown was an anthology series of science fiction, fantasy and horror stories, featuring adaptations of works by leading writers in these genres, together with original screenplays. Initially broadcast in monochrome (black and white), the show was broadcast in color from its third season on starting in 1969.moreless
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    BBC Television Shakespeare

    BBC Television Shakespeare

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    BBC Two (ended 1985)
    In 1978, Cedric Messina persuaded the British Broadcasting Corporation to take on the task of filming the whole canon ofWilliam Shakespeare's plays for television, under the title The Complete Dramatic Works of William Shakespeare. Throughout the project, which was finished in 1985, the BBC was able to secure leading actors of stage and screen and also big directing names. Whether as individual dramas or taken as a whole, the series is impressive, to say the least. The play Edward III was not included in the series, as the balance of scholarly opinion at the time was that it was not by Shakespeare. Today, the decision might have gone the other way. All of these productions of the plays have been sold to dozens of countries around the world and are used in the world of education more than they are for broadcasting. The major plays (such as Macbeth and Hamlet) are the most often repeated on television. The productions vary in length from 112 minutes for The Comedy of Errors to 228 for King Richard the Third. All are now available on DVD as well as VHS video.moreless
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    Ripping Yarns

    Ripping Yarns

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    BBC Two (ended 1979)
    Ripping Yarns is just that, a collection of tales of great adventure, mystery, suspense and high drama, that make for ripping good television. The series was created by Monty Python's Flying Circus alum Michael Palin and Terry Jones. Michael played the lead role in each tale and his main character's name is denoted in the episode description in bold; however, that however wasn't enough for Michael because he would also play various other small roles in each tale. If you look carefully you'll also see other Python alum John Cleese and Eric Idle making cameo appearances.moreless
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    Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

    Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

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    BBC Two (ended 1979)
    Tinker, tailor,soldier, sailor, Rich man, poor man, beggar-man, thief. George Smiley, the aging master spy of the Cold War and once heir apparent to Control, is brought back out of retirement to flush out a top level mole within the Circus. Smiley must travel back through his life and murky workings of the Circus to unravel the net spun by his nemesis Karla 'The Sandman' of the KGB and reveal the identity of the mole before he disappears.moreless
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    The Money Programme

    The Money Programme

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    BBC Two
    The Money Programme is a finance and business affairs television programme on BBC2. First broadcast in 5 April 1966, The Money Programme is the BBC's longest running business affairs programme. In the early years the Money Programme was fronted by "commentators" - distinguished financial journalists who gave viewers an insight and an understanding into Britain's new economic reality. The programme was not an immediate success. Audiences started at around half a million. But the programme had soon established itself and was making headlines - like the edition in November 1977 when Sir James Goldsmith accused the programme of telling lies and promptly stormed off the set. The Programme was completely transformed in the 1980’s into a new glossy magazine format. Introduced with two new presenters, Valerie Singleton and Brian Widlake, who helped to bring the programme to a wider audience. In 2001 the Programme was given a new look, changing from a magazine to a single subject documentary, such as 50 Cent’s business acumen, PPI’s and The World According To Google. The new format, produced in association with The Open University, has proved a great success with increased audiences, even greater press attention and a clutch of awards for its programmes.moreless
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    Mr Benn

    Mr Benn

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    BBC Two (ended 2005)
    Welcome to the Mr Benn guide at TV.com. This show is all about a man called Mr Benn who visits a fancy dress store every day. He tries on a costume, and then he embarks on different fantastical adventures, which always relate to the costume he has just put on. Mr Benn ran for thirteen episodes in the early 70s and there was a special episode in 2005. The protagonist's characteristic bowler-hatted appearance, and the spinning wheel-of-fortune design of the opening sequence, have become iconic emblems of children's television, and Mr Benn still has a cult following to this day.moreless
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    The Expert

    The Expert

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    BBC Two (ended 1976)
    Welcome to The Expert guide at TV.com. Dr. John Hardy was a forensic pathologist at the Home Office. The irascible doctor was assisted in his work by Sandra Hughes, and supported at home by his wife, Dr. Jo Hardy. Professor John Glaister, a former professor of forensic medicine and public health at the University of Glasgow, was employed as a technical adviser to ensure that The Expert maintained a high level of authenticity. The show, created by N. J. Crisp and Gerard Glaister, was the first BBC-2 drama series to be made in colour.moreless
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    The Borderers

    The Borderers

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    BBC Two (ended 1970)
    BBC Scotland drama series set in the Scottish Borders in the 16th Century. These were turbulent times: raids and skirmishes across the border with England; cattle and sheep rustling; disputes settled by sword or gun. Iain Cuthbertson stars as Sir Walter Ker of Cessford (referred to throughout as 'Cessford') the Warden of Liddesdale. (A Warden was roughly the equivalent of a modern day Sheriff.) Michael Gambon co-stars as Gavin Ker, male head of the family the Kers of Slitrig, kinsfolk of Cessford.moreless
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