Reviews

QUANTUM LEAP (1989)

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Show ImageAnother winning creation from the fertile mind of successful American writer/producer Donald P. Bellisario, co-creator of Magnum P.I. and Airwolf. Quantum Leap was an inspired twist on the standard time travel fantasy format, lightly leavened with a hint of divine intervention and a pleasing edge of knowing humour. The central premise of the series was a simple one - brilliant Nobel Prize winning scientist doctor Samuel Beckett (Tony award winning Broadway actor Scott Bakula), had formulated a method of limited time travel that allowed a person to travel freely within the span of their own lifetime, which he christened "Quantum Leaping". Naturally, things go seriously wrong during Sam's first experimental leap, with the result that the partially amnesiac scientist finds himself literally adrift in time, compelled by some unknown force to inhabit the bodies and lives of various individuals at pivotal moments in their histories, and "put right what once went wrong".

Sam's only link to the 'Quantum Leap' project and home, comes in the holographically projected form of his cigar smoking, wise-cracking, womanising partner - and link to the vast library of knowledge housed in "Ziggy", Project Quantum Leap's semi-sentient super computer, Admiral Al Calavicci (Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe winner Dean Stockwell), who was visible only to Sam, children and pets. With the freedom afforded by the show's format and a team of writers more than willing to explore the possibilities it opened to them, the series moved easily from the examination of serious social concerns to episodes of outright humour, with more or less assured ease. Although most of Sam's 'possessions' were of ordinary folk, the writers at times seized the opportunity to explore the lives of the well known or notorious, as with the stories featuring Elvis Presley and Lee Harvey Oswald. And sex was not a discriminating factor either, as Sam discovered the first time he inhabited the body of a female, in a story that boldly investigated the important issue of sexual harassment. With the final episode, entitled "Mirror Image", Bellisario somewhat courageously made the controversial decision to bring down the curtain on Sam's odyssey on an ambiguous note, which enraged and perplexed many viewers, by refusing to bring about the expected obligatory happy ending, opting instead to leave the series with the message that "Doctor Samuel Beckett never returned home." In many ways Quantum Leap could be viewed almost as an anthology series rather than a regular episodic one, given the eclectic diversity of the subjects it tackled. By turns thoughtful, funny, suspenseful or just plain silly, Quantum Leap stands as an imaginative example of televisual science fantasy at its most enjoyable. (Review: Stephen R Hulse)

QUATERMASS (1953)

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Scientist, head of the British Rocket Research Group, investigates strange incidents. Click Here for review

THE QUEEN STREET GANG (1968)

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Show ImageWell trained, highly organised and working from a secret H.Q. The Queen Street Gang were undoubtedly an attempt by Thames television to create a modern day Famous Five. There were even comparisons to be drawn with the Enid Blyton created characters, including one of the children being the daughter of a top secret researcher. The series was based on a 1966 children's adventure book called 'The Case of the Silver Egg', by Desmond Skirrow and adapted for TV by Roy Russell whose previous work included the Sexton Blake TV series and who later went on to write Fly Into Danger, A Place To Hide and numerous other adventure series. The first of the two stories made involved a silver egg that was able to hold all the electricity in the world, which was then stolen by a group of criminals with the unlikely names of Spitz, Auntie Cuthbert, Greenface and Tich, characters that would not have been out of place in the Batman TV series that was hugely popular around the same time. It was up to the gang to recover it, rescue the kidnapped professor and make the world a safer place for us all. The gang (of which, coincidentally there were five) was Mini Morris (Michael Feldman), Speedy (Anthony Peplow), Sniffer (Len Jones), Big Bill (Sebastian Abineri) and Philippa (Elizabeth Crowther).

QUICK BEFORE THEY CATCH US (1966)

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Show ImageChildren's action/adventure series that was very much a product of the swinging sixties having more in common with The Avengers than The Famous Five. It was actually about an unfamous three, each of them bringing with them their own unique skill to help solve the unlikely adventures they managed to get themselves into. Kate (Pamela Franklin), the youngest of our heroes, had a photographic memory and was also a talented artist, quite handy when on the trail of villians. Johnny (Teddy Green) was a technology student and quite handy at whipping up any manner of surveilance equipment, and Mark (David Griffin) was the nerdish brains of the outfit, also a gifted photographer. All the actors went on to long TV careers, Franklin moved to the USA where she often cropped up in numerous prime-time series such as Hawaii Five-O, Police Woman, Fantasy Island (four times) and Vega$. Green most later appeared in Holby City and became a regular in Hi-De-Hi! as Squadron Leader Clive Dempster DFC before appearing as Emmet in Keeping Up Appearances. The series theme tune was performed by the Brian Epstein managed group Paddy, Klaus and Gibson (Klaus being none other than Klaus Voorman, designer of The Beatles 'Revolver' album cover) but the musical trio split up before the TV trio had even started their adventures.

QUINCY ME (1976)

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Show Image Beginning life in the USA as part of the anthology series Mystery Movie, Quincy ME (the ME was dropped from the title in Britain), proved popular enough to be promoted to its own slot where it ran for almost ten years. The lead was taken by veteran actor Jack Klugman, who managed to effortlessly shake off the image of rough, gruff, slob, Oscar Madison in the equally long running the Odd Couple, to become the caring, conscientious and inquisitive pathologist, who had turned his back on his previously lucrative medical practice to work for the Los Angeles County Coroners Office, where he was ably assisted by young colleague Sam Fujiyama (Robert Ito). Quincy, impulsive and headstrong, was not adverse to leaving his microscope behind and venturing outside to conduct investigations of his own, much to the consternation of his boss, Dr. Robert J. Asten (John S. Ragin) and local police cheif Frank Monahan (Garry Walberg). In later seasons the series boldly attempted to face up to real issues such as drug abuse among teenage athletes. In private Quincy frequented a bar known as Danny's Place (the owner was played by Val Bisoglio), and dated a girl by the name of Lee Potter (Lynette Mettey). However, the romance with Lee didn't last and eventually Quincy met and married psychiatrist Emily Hanover (Anita Gillette). His first name was never given in the series although he carried a business card which revealed his first initial as R. The series was created by Glen A. Larson.