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    Coronation Street

    Coronation Street

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    ITV
    Coronation Street is credited as being one of the longest running soaps in the world and the longest running television soap in Britain (with the longest running overall being The Archers on BBC radio). The show has been on British TV screens since 1960 and has aired over 6,000 episodes. Coronation Street was created by Tony Warren, who drew on his own experiences living in Salford when developing the show for Granada Television in Manchester. The show's working title was Florizel Street. In a memo from Tony Warren to Granada, he explains the basis of the show: "A fascinating freemasonary, a volume of unwritten rules. These are the driving forces behind life in a working class street in the north of England. The purpose of Florizel Street is to examine a community of this nature, and to entertain." The first episode of Coronation Street, written by Tony Warren and containing the first airing of the iconic theme music (composed by Eric Spear), was transmitted live at 7.00pm on Friday 9th December 1960 and was an instant success due to its eliment of "realism". The series began as a twice weekly serial (airing originally on Wednesdays and Fridays) and was initially only commissioned for twelve episodes but due to the series' success with the viewers it became a perminant fixture, soon changing its transmission days to Monday and Wednesdays. Almost 30 years later the number of episodes increased to three per week in 1989 (additional episode on Fridays) and then to four in 1996 (additional episode on Sundays). Recently that has increased again with a second episode being added on a Monday night at 8.30, leaving a half hour gap between the end of the first episode of the evening and the start of the second. Coronation Street, Corrie or The Street (however you know it) has been at the top of the ratings for most of it's long run and despite tough competition from new soaps and even new TV channels it remains the highest rated programme on British television. William Roache is now the only original cast member remaining - he's played Ken Barlow since episode one. The Set: In early 1960, after Granada Television commissioned twelve episodes of Coronation Street, the set designer Denis Parkin was taken on a tour of Salford by series creator Tony Warren for inspiration on the set. The street's set was based on Archie Street in the Ordsall district, a film shot of which was used in the opening credits of the programme from 1960 to 1964. Archie Street itself was knocked down in 1971. The original television set was built indoors, the cobbles and paving slabs were painted to the floor and the houses were made out of wood. The set was so big and the studio so small that it had to be erected in two parts which explains why shots of the entire street were not seen until 1968 when Granada decided that the interior set was too limiting and so re-erected the set outside in a yard rented from British Railways on Grape Street on Manchester, behind the Granada studios. The cast hated it! They complained that it was draughty and cold; nevertheless it was soon re-built in bricks and mortar and survived until the end of the 1970s when the decision was made to incorporate the set into the Granada Studios Tour. By 1982 a brand new set had been erected on a new site just a few hundred yards away. When the set was complete it was opened by the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh. The new set was first seen on-screen in episode 2210, broadcast on Monday 7 June 1982. From 1982 up until 1999, it was possible for fans of the show to visit the exterior set as part of the Granada Studios Tour. With the closure of the tour, Granada were able to expanded the exterior set to incorporate further buildings on Rosamund Street (the Health Centre) and later on Victoria Street (Roy's Rolls & Elliot and Son). Coronation Street currently airs on the following days in the UK: Monday @ 7.30pm & 8.30pm, Wednesday @ 7.30pm, Friday @ 7.30pm, Sunday @ 7.30pm. Note: This episode guide mirrors the episode numbers that are used by Granada Television. These, in turn, are based on the episode production numbers. On the odd occasion over the years these have proven to be slightly haphazard. To explain; the first episode of the programme was production code P228/1, the second P228/2, etc. In 1970, the production team reached episode 999 with the episode that was broadcast on Wednesday 19th August that year. The next episode, the 1000th, was not given the production code of P228/1000 but instead was given the new production code of P694 and the number 1! (To confuse matters more, Granada also publicised episode 999 as the 1000th episode!). The actual 1000th episode was therefore known as episode P694/1. As the seventies went on, two episodes (P694/26 and P694/27) were edited down into one half-hour episode, supposedly because Doris Speed - playing Annie Walker - was ill, and four episode numbers were not used at all - P694/503, P694/504, P694/505 and P694/549. You will therefore not find episodes 1503, 1504, 1505 or 1549 in this guide - because they were never made! When the 4000th episode was broadcast in April 1996, Granada's production codes skipped from P694/2999 to P694/4000, thereby mirroring better the actual episode number being shown and publicised. The fact remains though that other episode numbers have been skipped or counted as double episodes and therefore the publicity over episodes such as number 6000 in 2005 are a few episodes out. This is no big secret and, on occasion, comments have appeared in the UK press about this anomoly.moreless
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    The Bill

    The Bill

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    ITV (ended 2010)
    Welcome to The Bill guide at TV.com. The Bill recounts the goings-on within and around Sun Hill, a Metropolitan Police Station located in the fictional Borough of Canley, in east London. Running for over 25 years, The Bill was Britain's longest running police drama series, finally outstripping Dixon of Dock Green on 10 August 2005. It adapted to meet the challenges of the highly competitive world of independent television, evolving from a standard post-watershed police procedural drama, through a period as a twice- and, later, thrice-weekly early evening ratings grabber with stand-alone plots, then as a twice-weekly one-hour drama with ongoing soap-style exploration of the troubled personal lives of its police officers. The Bill reverted to a once a week, post-watershed drama on 23 July 2009, but ITV decided not to renew the show when the contract came up for renewal the following year. The Bill is not your average cop show, but rather an extraordinary police drama that brings each episode to the audience through the eyes of the characters. An excellent cast, supported by some of the country's leading writers and directors and some innovative camera work gives an incredible sense of realism. Other police dramas have been created in an attempt to mirror its conventions and match its success, but none has lasted. The Bill truly deserves its accolade as Britain's most successful police drama.moreless
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    Agatha Christie's Poirot

    Agatha Christie's Poirot

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    ITV (ended 2013)
    Welcome to the Poirot guide at TV.com. This is a British series which brings to life Agatha Christie's Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot, played by David Suchet, whose sleuthing for the purposes of this series belongs in the mid-1930s. Based in London, with the very English Captain Hastings (Hugh Fraser) as his Dr Watson, Poirot's field of operations ranges around the world. The series has strong story lines, good production and acting, and a real period flavour. Poirot won two BAFTA awards in 1990, then had more BAFTA nominations as Best Drama Series in 1991 and 1992. All of Agatha Christie's seventy-two Poirot stories were produced with David Suchet as Poirot, and the show has been broadcast in more than one hundred countries around the world.moreless
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    Taggart

    Taggart

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    ITV (ended 2010)
    Welcome to the Taggart guide at TV.com. In the early 1980s, Robert Love, Controller of Drama at Scottish Television, and Glenn Chandler, pathologist-turned-writer, created a Glaswegian police detective named Jim Taggart, a creation that resulted in a world-wide successful television drama that lasted for twenty-seven years. Over the course of 110 stories the series, which followed the exploits of Maryhill CID, continued to win over viewers old and new despite major changes in the cast which caused most in the business to write it off. From the pilot broadcast, "Killer", to the final episode, the show presented more grizzly murders and plot twists than even the most ardent of fans can remember. Its film noir quality, along with the stunning setting of Glasgow, the second city of the empire, helped it remain a success even after the death of the titular character. The excellent cast, both past and present, have provided characters that have become much loved and remain in the hearts of fans even after their departure. This guide is dedicated to the memories of Mark McManus, Iain Anders, Robert Robertson and Tom Watson. Taggart was made by Scottish Television (later Scottish Media Group) Productions and broadcast on the ITV network across the UK. In 2010, with ITV assessing their output due to financial issues, the show was at risk of being cancelled. The two broadcasters agreed a co-production arrangement for the next series, which was broadcast first on STV, and later aired in the rest of the UK on ITV1. However, despite the new format and the series' continuing popularity in Scotland, viewing figures across the rest of the UK were disappointing, and ITV announced in May 2011 that it had decided not to commission any further series.moreless
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    Thomas The Tank Engine & Friends

    Thomas The Tank Engine & Friends

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    ITV
    Welcome to the Thomas The Tank Engine & Friends guide at TV.com. The show is about a tank engine, Thomas, and his friends who live on the Island of Sodor. Together, the engines work on the railways under the supervision of Sir Topham Hatt, the "Fat Controller." Thomas The Tank Engine actually dates back to 1945, when the Reverend Wilbert Vere Awdry created The Railway Series to amuse his son Christopher, who was suffering from measles. His wife Margaret encouraged him to publish the stories and he did so, going on to add another book each year (except 1947 and 1971) until 1972. Wilbert's son Christopher later continued The Railway Series up to 40 books. In 1984 Britt Allcroft decided to turn the stories into a TV series with Ringo Starr as the narrator. He was replaced by Michael Angelis in 1991, who still narrates today. (Full Narrator listings below.) When the series was shown on PBS in the US, it was part of a show called Shining Time Station. 2 of the show's narrators played Mr. Conductor in the series, Ringo Starr in the earlier episodes and George Carlin later. Since the show ran from 1989 to 1993, only early episodes of Thomas are part of it. A note on writers: In the episode guide, the writers are as follows: If the episode is based on a Railway Series book by the Rev W Awdry, he will be credited as the writer. If the episode is based on a Railway Series book by Christopher Awdry, he will be credited as the writer. If the episode is not based on a Railway Series book, Britt Allcroft and David Mitton will be credited as the writers since they wrote it. From Season 6 the writers are varied. Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends is Based on The Railway Series by The Reverend W. Awdry. Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends and Thomas & Friends are trademarks of HIT Entertainment Inc.moreless
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    Emmerdale

    Emmerdale

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    ITV
    Emmerdale first screened on ITV on the 16th of October 1972, which makes it one of the longest running soaps in British Television History.
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    The Benny Hill Show

    The Benny Hill Show

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    ITV (ended 1989)
    This guide strives to be as complete a resource as possible for the third TV series to bear Benny Hill's name in the title, which ran on Thames Television (ITV) from 1969-1989, and has appeared around the world in countless formats and re-edits ever since.

    This is a guide to the original hour-long version.

    In America, the show was usually presented in a specially-edited half-hour format, which ran for a total of 111 editions (although Comedy Central did screen the hour-long format in the early-to-mid '90's, albeit with sections edited out, typically the musical guest or dance numbers). 30-minute repeats (not the same as were made for the American market) often aired in Britain when the show was "between seasons."

    Comedy Central aired the original hour-long format for Shows 32 - 58 (except for Show 40). Also, USA Network aired the shows in the original hour-long format in the late '80s/early '90s. At least Shows 54 - 58, possibly others, along with the independently-produced Benny Hill's World Tour: New York special (both channels had a few minutes cut for extra commercial time).

    In the U.S., the original hour-long shows have been issued on DVD (Region 1) under the umbrella title Benny Hill - Complete & Unadulterated. The first three sets were released with the subheading The Naughty Early Years, covering the years 1969-1971 (Shows 1-11, including three B&W episodes previously unseen in America), 1972-1974 (Shows 12-21) and 1975-1977 (Shows 22-31, plus his 1970 half-hour silent film Eddie in August). The final three sets bore the subheading The Hill's Angels Years, and covered the years 1978-1981 (Shows 32-41), 1982-1985 (Shows 42-50) and 1986-1989 (Shows 51-58). Also, the Golden Greats set that came out in 2001 (now out-of-print) included 6 episodes, Shows 46, 47, 50, 55, 56 and 58.

    In England, the original hour-long shows (complete with production slates and adcaps) have been released on DVD (Region 2) on a year-by-year basis, under the umbrella of The Benny Hill Annual, each set representing a different year. The 1970 set (Shows 3-6) contains the aforementioned Eddie in August, and the 1974 set (which only saw two new editions air, Shows 20 and 21) features his first two Thames specials from 1969. As of October 2006, the total releases go up to 1979 (Shows 34 and 35). The Benny Hill Annual sets from 1976 and 1977 onwards have adcaps but not VT slates.moreless
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    This Morning

    This Morning

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    ITV
    Since 1988 This Morning has brought smiles to millions of housewives and husbands, with its mix of current affairs, celebrity gossip, food, wine, clothes, TV and anything else going on in the world. The show is currently in its 22nd series and was completely relaunched ahead of its start, as for the first time in some years it took 6 weeks off. From the weekend of Saturday 20th March 2010, the show began airing 7 days week, with additional episodes airing on the weekends This Morning: Saturday and This Morning: Sunday, featuring highlights of the weeks shows and new content, hosted by regular hosts Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield. Between Series 1 and Series 13 (1988 - 2001), husband and wife team Richard Madeley & Judy Finigan hosted, however from 1998 Fridays were hosted between Caron Keating & Ross Kelly (Series 10) and John Leslie & Fern Britton (Series 11). When Richard & Judy departed, originally Coleen Nolan and Twiggy hosted Mondays to Thursdays and John & Fern took over on Fridays. When the viewing figures dropped considerably, Coleen & Twiggy were replaced permanently by John & Fern. In 2002 when certain allegations were made in the press about John, he was dismissed and replaced by Phillip Schofield. In 2003 (Series 15) Lorraine Kelly joined the team replacing Fern on Mondays and Fridays, allowing her more time with her family. In 2006 (Series 18) Lorraine left the show to concentrate on her show on GMTV, meaning Phil & Fern presented Monday to Thursday and Eamonn Holmes & Ruth Langsford presented on a Friday. Ruth & Eamonn also have presented on school holidays since joining the show. At the end of series 21, a pay dispute led to Fern Britton leaving the show and when it returned for its new look in September 2009, Holly Willoughby took over Mondays to Thursdays.moreless
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    Thunderbirds

    Thunderbirds

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    ITV (ended 1966)
    In 2065, former astronaut and millionaire Jeff Tracy forms an secret organization named International Rescue. Its mission is to intervene when human life is at threat and nobody else is able to help. They're based on a small tropical island in the Pacific. While it appears to all the world as a reclusive millionaire's retreat, complete with luxurious hillside house (appropriately in the International Style of architecture) and swimming pool, hidden beneath the house and inside a cliff face are various facilities for the enormous complex where their equipment is built, maintained and stored. The equipment, including the specialized Thunderbird vehicles, is designed and assembled by Brains, a brilliant engineer fiercely loyal to Jeff. Supporting the team is Lady Penelope, a famous society figure who secretly acts as their London operative, assisted by her butler, Parker. The five Thunderbird craft are piloted by each of Jeff's five sons, all named after members of America's Mercury program: - Thunderbird 1, piloted by Scott, named after Scott Carpenter. This ramjet-powered plane is their fastest aircraft, always first on the scene to assess the situation and coordinate the rescue. - Thunderbird 2, piloted by Virgil (after Virgil "Gus" Grissom." A fan favorite, Thunderbird 2 is the heavy lift air transport, responsible for carrying all manner of large and bulky machinery to rescue sites. - Thunderbird 3 is piloted by Alan (after Alan Shepard) or John (after John Glenn,) depending on who is on station in Thunderbird 5. 3 is the spaceship for International Rescue. - Thunderbird 4, piloted by Gordon (after Gordon Cooper), is a mini-submarine usually carried to sites inside Thunderbird 2. - Thunderbird 5 is manned by John and Alan on rotating monthly shifts. It's an orbital space platform where all communications around the world can be monitored and issues alerts to Jeff whenever trouble arises. International Rescue insists on complete secrecy. Their identities aren't known to anyone outside the organization and photography of their equipment is forbidden. Thunderbirds was produced by Gerry Anderson and was the culmination of his Supermarionation process, which used marionette puppets instead of live actors. Originally intended for children, the show still has a devoted fanbase of adult viewers, both in the United Kingdom where it originated and in the United States, where it was syndicated in the 1960s and 70s. The series spawned three theatrical features. Thunderbirds Are Go! and Thunderbird Six were produced soon after the series left the air, although neither met with box office success. In 2004, a live action feature of the same name was made without Anderson's involvement. It drew scathing comments from professional movie reviewers who compared it unfavorably to the original show.moreless
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    Mind Your Language

    Mind Your Language

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    ITV (ended 1986)
    Barry Evans stars as Teacher Jeremy Brown who is attempting to teach English to a class of mixed nationality students. The first series had 13 episodes and was shown from December 1977 to March 1978. The second series had only 8 episodes and was shown from October 1978 to November 1978. The third series of 8 episodes was shown from October 1979 to December 1979. Seven years later in 1986 an independently produced fourth series of 13 episodes of Mind Your Language was shown.moreless
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    Inspector Morse

    Inspector Morse

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    ITV (ended 2000)
    Welcome to the Inspector Morse guide at TV.com. Morse (played by the late John Thaw) is not the ideal policeman, his superiors think. He is prickly and sarcastic, a bachelor, an Oxford graduate, an intellectual snob, and he doesn't always follow protocol strictly as he should. But he gets results. Sergeant Lewis (Kevin Whately) is a plain family man, he follows orders, and the thing that keeps him from advancing in the Force is that he seems a little slow. The show takes place in and around Oxford, where many a mysterious murder occurs. Colin Dexter, the author of the Morse novels from which most of these dramas developed, appears in cameo roles in very nearly every episode. The books are: Last Bus to Woodstock (1975), Last Seen Wearing (1976), The Silent World of Nicholas Quinn (1977), Service of All the Dead (1979), Winter's Crime (short stories) (1981), The Dead of Jericho (1981), The Riddle of the Third Mile (1983), The Secret of Annexe 3 (1986), The Wench Is Dead (1989), The Jewel That Was Ours (1991), The Way Through the Woods (1992), The Daughters of Cain (1994), Morse's Greatest Mystery and Other Stories (1995), Death Is Now My Neighbour (1996) and The Remorseful Day (2000). Barrington Pheloung's theme tune for the series is based on the Morse code for m-o-r-s-e. Less well known is the fact that he weaves other characters' names into the score in Morse code at suitable moments. Pheloung appears as a choirmaster in The Remorseful Day, the last episode of the series featuring John Thaw. The Inspector Morse concept waslater revived by ITV,with spin-off seriesLewis (starring Kevin Whately as Inspector Lewis) and prequel episode Endeavour featuring Shaun Evans as a young Endeavour Morse.moreless
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    The Professionals

    The Professionals

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    ITV (ended 1983)
    THE PROFESSIONALS (1977 - 1983) "Anarchy, acts of terror, crimes against the public. To combat it I've got special men - experts from the Army, the Police - from every service. These are The Professionals." The Professionals is one of British television's most popular and successful action series of the 1970s and 80s. At their peak in 1980 The Pros were earning as many as 17.6 million viewers. The A Squad The Professionals began life in early 1977, provisionally titled The A-Squad, in an idea conceived by Brian Clemens, the then head of the independent TV company Avengers Mark I Productions. His aim was to create a rival for Thames television's hugely successful long-running police series The Sweeney. Bodie, Doyle and Cowley could have looked very different to how we remember them as. A number of very different actors were considered for the three central roles, with neither of the final chosen team being the original choices. The final three were more or less drafted in when the first choice stars either declined or were axed. Gordon Jackson (formerly the distinctly unmenacing Butler Hudson in Upstairs Downstairs) and Martin Shaw (whose first TV appearance was as a hippie in 1960s Coronation Street) were first to be cast. During the filming of the first episode, Old Dog with New Tricks Bodie was in fact played by Anthony Andrews. Unfortunately, old mates Shaw and Andrews spent much of the time cracking up with laughter - hardly a recipe for ensuring the renowned edgy banter between the two leads. Lewis Collins (best known by this time as Gavin Rumsey in comedy series The Cuckoo Waltz) was brought in to play Bodie, with Andrews being given the heave-ho. Collins and Shaw had previously worked together just months earlier in an episode of The New Avengers, and were cast alongside each other again thanks to the 'sparky, abrasive' on-screen partnership that they generated. In other words, they didn't particularly like each other! But with the central cast complete, filming began on 20 June 1977, with the first episode Private Madness Public Danger debuting on Friday 30 December 1977. Criminal Intelligence 5 The basis of The Professionals was CI5 - Criminal Intelligence 5 - an organisation lead by surly Scotsman George Cowley (played by Gordon Jackson), a former MI5 head who founded the team as an 'umbrella organisation' to help alleviate London's ever-increasing level of criminal activity. CI5 consisted of up to forty men and women agents, but the main action was centred around Cowley's two top operatives; William Andrew Philip Bodie (Agent 3.7) and Raymond Doyle (4.5). Bodie (Lewis Collins) - he of the close-cropped hair, polo necks and smart suits - was a mercenary in Africa, who deserted the Merchant Navy to join the Paras and later the SAS, before being signed up to CI5 by Cowley. He was, on the surface, an uncompromising thug with a penchant for the 'hit first, ask questions later' theory - thinking nothing of causing 'damage' to a suspect if it meant getting the right results. Doyle (Martin Shaw) was a former Docklands Police Constable, and his more placid nature was reflected in his memorable bubble-perm hairstyle and casual clothing attire (i.e. old plaid jackets and skintight jeans). However, he possessed a tougher streak to match that of Bodie if ever riled by a particularly awkward suspect. Chalk and Cheese The show's major appeal lay in its well-balanced mix of strong acting and direction, coupled with Bodie and Doyle's sparky partnership and chalk-and-cheese personalities. Cowley's preoccupation with pure malt scotch and occasional bullet-wound limp were also a source of amusement for the Lads, but overall they each viewed one another with a great mutual respect. The fifty-seven episode run produced a great variety of gripping plots, most notably the destruction of a German terrorist group in Close Quarters, the testing of a potentially deadly laser gun in Hunter Hunted, a supposed crime-free town masking a squad of corrupt policeman in In the Public Interest and the trial of CI5 in The Rack to name but a few. Like any show, however, there were a number of dodgy episodes to contend with, the chief honour going to The Gun and Blood Sports during the generally below-par fourth season. Banned! The Professionals wasn't without controversy, though - and no, we don't mean Martin Shaw's hair (which was, amazingly, his own idea!). Klansmen, the thirteenth (unlucky for some?) and final episode was banned and remains unaired in the UK even to this day because it dealt with the subject of racism. Only now with the DVD release will British fans be able to see the episode for themselves. Eventually Lewis and Martin quit the series in 1981 when their four-year contracts expired and although Gordon was said to have been happy to continue, it was decided not to cast a set of new characters because of Lewis and Martin's popularity. However, both had become tired of the monotony of playing their characters - least of all Martin, who had begun to express his dislike of playing 'violent puppet' Doyle at approximately six weeks into the role! Filming was quickly wrapped up with Spy Probe in mid-1981, but due to several ITV strike disputes in the late 1970s, several episodes were held back and the fifth season did not begin transmission until November 1982. The final edition, No Stone was broadcast on Sunday 6 February 1983. Martin allegedly barred any further repeats being broadcast on British terrestrial TV until 1992 and now the only UK-based channel that regularly screens re-runs is satellite station Granada Plus, albeit with a ridiculous series of censorship rules in place (of course, to conceal unnecessary violence we assume, not to make way for more washing powder adverts). Then and Now The Professionals will forever be remembered for sparking such hard-hitting debate as: who was the best looking, Bodie or Doyle? (for the women), who had the smartest motor? (for the blokes) and who was going to be the first victim to be injured by Doyle's erupting perm? (for those mourning the demise of decent hairstyles as the Seventies kicked in). Since the series ended more than twenty years ago, the cast have had mixed fortunes in their careers. Gordon Jackson continued to work successfully in a number of high-profile film and TV roles until he very sadly passed away in 1990, at the age of 66. Martin Shaw appeared in The Chief and Rhodes in the mid-1990s, and has recently made a comeback to prime-time television, with starring roles in A&E and Judge John Deed. In 2003 he became the new face of P.D James' long-running detective, Adam Dalgliesh. Lewis Collins unfortunately fell victim to the dreaded typecasting, appearing in a series of ill-advised foreign action movies in the 1980s (although we rather liked Who Dares Wins!) His most recent UK TV appearances were in Cluedo - a thankfully now defunct quiz show presented by the likes of Richard Madeley - in 1991 and a cameo appearance in the dodgy ITV1 'comedy' series The Grimleys in 1999. He has spent the past few years concentrating on theatre work, including a role in the thriller Dangerous Corner, also in 1999. In 2002 Lewis guest-starred in an episode of police series The Bill. The New Professionals The series was revived in 1999, now under the very imaginative alias of The New Professionals. At first it was thought Lewis Collins would be making a comeback appearance, with Bodie being elevated to the position vacated by Cowley, but negotiations for this later fell through. Martin Shaw, on the other hand, was 'not invited' to reprise his role. Interest in the show was less than forthcoming; the first series being pushed into a rather unsociable time slot on the satellite channel Sky One. It now seems unlikely that another season will be made. Over the past decade there has been a renewed interest for The Professionals and all things retro. The memorable 1996 Nissan Car advertisement ("This car's well-sprung" / "A bit like your hair!") and the release of all 57 episodes on DVD in 2002, will ensure that the show is likely to gain a whole new generation of fans following its Silver Jubilee year.moreless
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    The Ruth Rendell Mysteries

    The Ruth Rendell Mysteries

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    ITV (ended 2000)
    Welcome to The Ruth Rendell Mysteries guide at TV.com. The guide takes in over thirty hours of crime drama productions, based on the novels and short stories of Ruth Rendell. In most of these, veteran actor George Baker plays Chief Inspector Reg Wexford of Kingsmarkham (a fictional town in the real English county of Hampshire), with Christopher Ravenscroft as his partner-in-detection, Inspector Mike Burden. Wexford's wife Dora is played by Louie Ramsay. She had known George Baker for many years, but they became close while working on the series and married in real life. The Inspector Wexford stories were filmed on location in and around Romsey, Hampshire, and most were broadcast under The Ruth Rendell Mysteries banner. In 1992, having exhausted the supply of Wexford stories, Meridian started adapting other Rendell mysteries, thus belatedly justifying the use of the confusing umbrella title for the show. The final episode was broadcast under the Inspector Wexford banner, and this is the title used for DVD releases and repeat broadcasts of the Wexford stories on the ITV network.moreless
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    London's Burning

    London's Burning

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    ITV (ended 2002)
    Welcome to the London's Burning guide at TV.com. This long-running drama series was developed from a feature-length film about the London Fire Brigade. Set in the Blackwall Fire Station, London's Burning followed the working and personal lives of Blue Watch, based at Blackwell Fire Station in East London. A centre-piece of ITV's weekend schedules for several years, later series saw the departure of many long-standing characters and an increasing focus on soap-style plot lines. With viewing figures around half those enjoyed in its heyday, the show was cancelled in 2002. London's Burning was a London Weekend Television production for the ITV network.moreless
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    We'll Meet Again

    We'll Meet Again

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    ITV (ended 1982)
    British period drama series. During World War II a group of U.S. Eight Air Force 525th Bomb Group air crew and pilots are stationed in the small Suffolk town of Market Wetherby much to the initial distrust of its older inhabitants and the delight of the younger female ones.moreless
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    Storyboard

    Storyboard

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    ITV (ended 1983)
    Welcome to the Storyboard guide at TV.com.

    Storyboard was a short season of one-off dramas from Thames Television, the company behind some of ITV's most important dramas in the 1970s and 1980s. Five of these dramas were picked up as full series: Woodentop (as The Bill) (1984-date), The Traitor (as Mr Palfrey of Westminster) (1984-1985), Lytton's Diary (1985-1986), Ladies in Charge (1986) and King & Castle (1986-1988).moreless
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    That's My Boy

    That's My Boy

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    ITV (ended 1986)
    This long-running British sitcom features Mollie Sugden as Ida Willis, an interfering housekeeper who finds out her employer is actually the son she gave up for adoption when he was a baby.moreless
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    Harry's Game

    Harry's Game

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    ITV (ended 1982)
    Harry's Game is a 1982 Yorkshire Television 3-part mini series about Harry Brown, a British agent sent to infiltrate the IRA in Belfast to find and kill the assassin of a cabinet minister. Based on the novel by former-ITN correspondent Gerald Seymour, the series wondirector Lawrence Gordon Clark the prestigious Golden Leopard's Eye award at the Locarno International Film Festival. The theme tune by Irish group Clannad reached the top five in the UK Singles charts and was also nominated for a BAFTA. The series received an edited release on VHS before being released in its entirety in 2007 on Region 2 by Network DVD. The release also included an interview with the show's star Ray Lonnen.moreless
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    Brass

    Brass

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    ITV (ended 1990)
    Brass depicts the lives of two families at opposite ends of the social spectrum in 1930’s England. One is the Hardacres: wealthy, living in the big house at the top of the hill, looking down on everybody else, and the other is the Fairchilds: employed by the Hardacres, they live in a tiny tract house down at the bottom of the hill. Despite the differences in class and wealth, however, plenty of sexual intermingling takes place. Bradley Hardacre, played by Timothy West, owner of the coal mine, the cotton mill, shipyard, aircraft factory and much else - even the munitions factory. He strikes the perfect character as the cigar puffing, ruthless, greedy, wily, blunt, and lusting after power, money and women at the same time. Lady Patience Hardacre played by Caroline Blakiston is self-pitying and gin-dependent. Their marital relationship is a disastrous sham; indeed, to ward off any unlikely attempt by her husband at pursuance of his marital rights she has convinced him that she must remain confined to a wheelchair, whereas, in reality, she is a walking cauldron of desire.moreless
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    Bless Me, Father

    Bless Me, Father

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    ITV (ended 1981)
    Produced by London Weekend Television, this series was written by Peter de Rosa and is based upon his autobiographical novels written as "Neil Boyd". The series is an engagingly idiosyncratic situation comedy based on the post-war experiences of a young priest sent to the parish of St. Jude's in the London suburb of Fairwater in 1950. Although it is not necessary to understand the sociological underpinnings to enjoy the comedy, the series gains extra bite from the relatively embattled situation of the parishioners as (mainly Irish) Catholics in a firmly Protestant Britain just recovering from the war and still smarting under Government rationing and other restrictions. (It should also be noted that St. Jude is the Catholic patron saint of lost causes...) Period detail is understated but convincing, particularly the hideous clothes worn by the pious women.

    The core of the series is naive and rather shy, Father Boyd's education at the hands of Father Duddleswell, an experienced parish priest whose staunch faith occasionally seems dangerously old-fashioned to Father Boyd but is usually revealed to be tempered by shrewd common sense and genuine goodness. Veteran character actor Arthur Lowe is quite magnificent in the role, conveying Father Duddleswell's limitations as well as his strengths, and making the growing affectionate bond between the two priests convincing and subtly moving. It is Father Duddleswell's nemesis Mother Stephen (head of the local convent) and Bishop Reilly who embody the hidebound and sometimes cruel aspects of the Church hierarchy. (It should be noted that novelist de Rosa is a formerpriest himself.) Daniel Abineri is convincingly earnest and gauche as the newly ordained curate embarrassed by his own good looks and appeal for the female members of the congregation. (So far as I know this is the only series Abineri appeared in.)

    Sharp-tongued housekeeper Mrs. Pring has a love-hate 40-year relationship with Father Duddleswell which produces some delightful insult matches, as does his conflict with next-door neighbour Billy Buzzle, a Cockney bookie and black-marketeer. Most of the Irish ethnic comedy is embodied in Doctor Daley, usually seen downing a whiskey with a fag end still in his mouth while reminiscing about the Connemarra childhood he shared with his oldest friend.moreless
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