Reviews

SEA HUNT (1957)

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Show ImageLloyd Bridges starred as Mike Nelson, former US Navy frogman and owner of the seagoing vessel Argonaut, in which he travelled the globe as a freelance underwater troubleshooter, employed by salvage companies, insurance firms and, at times, the US Government. Bridges' partner in Sea Hunt was the glamorous Zale Parry, then holder of the Women's World Record for Diving. The two stars were teamed together after research by producer Ivan Tors (who went on to have another 'wet' hit with Flipper), into the possibility of making TV films with an underwater setting. Tors then went to the US Navy, the Coastguard and various US Law Enforcement agencies all of who were quite happy to supply him with subject material, and in order to make the shows as realistic as possible real divers and marine scientists were employed to act as advisors. Bridges two sons, Beau and Jeff, both of whom went on to successful Hollywood careers, appeared from time to time. The series was revived briefly in 1987 starring former TV Tarzan, Ron Ely.

SEA OF SOULS (2004)

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Show Image Topics as past life experiences, psychic abilities and voodoo cults are all in a day's work for the team of parapsychologists featured in Sea of Souls produced by BBC Scotland. Based at the fictitious parapsychology unit at Clyde University, Glasgow, the series centres around a team of researchers who investigate extraordinary circumstances surrounding everyday people. Starring Bill Paterson, Archie Panjabi and Peter McDonald, the three make up the research team who endeavour to explain the inexplicable. The characters featured cover a wide spectrum of beliefs, which echo the world's continued fascination with all things paranormal. Research fellow Andrew Gemmill errs on the side of scepticism; while postgraduate student Megan Sharma desperately wants to believe in the paranormal while the team leader, Dr. Douglas Monaghan is caught somewhere between the two extremes. Together their mix of beliefs propels the team on a mission to uncover the truth. Series writer David Kane stated that the series is deeply rooted in the work that these types of units do all over the world. "People are always gripped by these kind of stories, and so am I if they are told in an intelligent way, and treated seriously. Although a lot of the stories came straight from my imagination, the facts were checked afterwards." BBC Scotland's Head of Drama, Barbara McKissack, added to this saying that she felt the time was ripe for a series about the paranormal. "We've reached the 21st Century and a lot of the universe's external mysteries have been uncovered. Now the world is divided into people who have faith and those who don't and many of those who don't are looking for explanations - the human mind is the last major uncharted territory. What we wanted to do was show the different beliefs that are around and have stories that are saying, 'this could be you, or someone you know."

Dr. Douglas Monaghan is head of the Parapsychology Unit at Clyde University, Glasgow. He is a consummate professional. He is the safe pair of hands when life slips from the norm into the nightmare, but he hides the scars of a personal tragedy - he lost his wife and child and that has left him scarred. People frequently seek his advice or assistance with strange events as they try to make sense of the seemingly senseless. The second member of the unit is sceptic Andrew Gemmill. Andrew firmly believes that there is always a rational explanation for the things the team deals with. He needs evidence and proof to believe any claims of paranormal experiences. He'd also be the first to admit that he's just a bit too dogmatic about what he believes is the point of parapsychology. He's fascinated by the human mind, by looking at people who claim to have had paranormal experiences and his approach is to document them scientifically. The final member of his team is student Megan Sharma. Megan is much more aware of people's emotions. She believes things can be changed, and shows this as she fights against people's preconceived expectations of her. She is very bright and knowledgeable and was selected by Monaghan to join him in the parapsychology unit as a team member.

Sea Of Souls was written by David Kane and was filmed in and around Glasgow, with additional location work done in Spain and the Scottish Highlands. Exterior shots of Jordanhill College in Glasgow were used for exteriors of the fictitious Clyde University, while a purpose built set was erected within the building of St. Andrews College, Bearsden for all interior shots. The producer on Sea Of Souls was Phil Collinson, who was soon after appointed producer for the new Doctor Who series. (Review: Bob Furnell)

THE SECOND COMING (2003)

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Show Image Stephen Baxter is an easygoing, lager drinking, working class video-store assistant born and bred in Manchester, Northern England. The same Stephen Baxter also claims to be the Son of God returned to the mortality he departed some two thousand years earlier, to once more deliver a profoundly important message unto Humankind. At its very best, television drama as well as entertaining, should also aspire to prompt the viewing audience to think, question and discuss. Over the past decade, few productions have succeeded - let alone truly attempted - to stimulate their audience beyond the glossy but ultimately superficial level of pure entertainment. However, with major two-part Granada Television production for ITV 1, The Second Coming, writer Russell T Davies has consolidated his reputation as a creator of vision, imagination and intelligence by successfully fusing both enjoyable entertainment with deep underlying moral, philosophical and theological questions to produce a genuinely fresh, risk-taking and richly rewarding piece of post millennial drama.

From the moment Stephen Baxter performs his first miracle at Manchester City's football stadium, through his proclamation that humanity must produce a "Third Testament", or face Armageddon. And the ensuing instantaneous world-wide fame thrust upon him, Davies' artfully scripted post modern parable unfolds with a wit and finesse that the majority of modern drama's can only dream of coming close to attaining, yet alone sustaining. In the role of Baxter, the ever interesting and intense Christopher Eccleston effortlessly conveys the subtly paradoxical fusion of ordinary bloke with mysterious divine messenger. Imbuing the character with an effectively unsettling aura of likeability and otherworldly charisma from the outset. But if Eccleston is impressive, it's the equally perfectly judged performance of Lesley Sharp as Judith, Stephen's down-to-earth, highly sceptical best friend which is the human heart of the drama. Excellent as always in the pivotal role, Sharp's Judith is an instantly identifiable "Everyperson", whose refusal to be either broken or bowed by the universe shaking events threatening to over take her forms the solid human core which ultimately seals the fate of both Stephen Baxter, and the world as a whole. For those yet to have had the opportunity of viewing The Second Coming for themselves, I shall refrain from detailing the ultimate resolution of the show. However, the very fact that Davies' script - while providing the only realistic dramatic outcome - also serves as a springboard to genuine debate amongst viewers regarding the story's ramifications, can only be applauded by those of us who value drama as a tool that can be used effectively to highlight complex questions about the state of the human condition. Amazingly, this pedigree example of drama was rejected by both the BBC and Channel 4 before finally being commissioned - rather surprisingly, one might be tempted to think - by ITV 1. As Davies recalled in a subsequent Radio Times article: "One drama executive's words to me struck home - 'I think you're going to look stupid'". Disheartening words for hopeful would-be creators of future intelligent dramas. And also fatally short-sighted, in that to avoid addressing issues of merit through the dramatic medium means an increasingly "safe", "play-by-the-rules and offend nobody", creative cul-de-sac for British television.

Part of Russell T Davies' deliberate intentions with the show apart from entertaining is to provoke debate. He stated his hopes thus: "I hope a couple who have been married for 40 years will turn to each other at the end of The Second Coming and say, 'So, what do you believe?' It will get people talking - and that's brilliant." Davies then goes on to pinpoint a major function of television drama that is all too often overlooked by contemporary producers and writers working in the medium: "If TV drama doesn't do that, [engender debate] it's just wallpaper". While not entirely flawless in terms of overall story structure, The Second Coming is nevertheless a ground-breaking production of true original creative sweep that might possibly be prove to be the most original and though-provoking piece of televisual drama we will be privileged to see grace our screens for many years to come. (Review: Stephen R. Hulse)

SECRET ARMY (1977)

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Show ImageIn Secret Army, produced by Gerard Glaister as a follow-up to his hugely successful drama series Colditz, the action takes place in Belgium during the Second World War and concerns itself with the members of Lifeline, an underground Resistance movement, who risk life and limb in their endeavours to smuggle Allied airmen past the Nazis and return them back to Britain via a number of escape routes and safe houses. Bernard Hepton played Albert Foiret, the proprietor of 'Le Candide' cafe that served as the base for the movement which was led by its idealistic founder Lisa Colbert (Jan Francis) whose motivation was the murder of her parents by the Germans. Apart from helping the Resistance there was an added threat to Foiret, the fact that the German officers, headed by Gestapo leader Kessler (Clifford Rose) frequented 'Le Candide.' The final Secret Army episode to be made, 'What Did You Do in the War, Daddy?', set 25 years after the liberation of Brussels, looked at how the characters had fared after the war, but was never broadcast. Instead the end of the last series showed how, with the war over and Brussels liberated, Kessler escaped capture and adopted a new identity. He then resurfaced in a spin-off series, Kessler, made in 1981. As unlikely as it seems Secret Army inspired one of Britain's longest running sitcoms - 'Allo 'Allo - in which most of the key elements were recreated but parodied. No one was spared. There was even a character called Yvette - Lisa Colbert's codename in Secret Army.

THE SECRET DIARY OF ADRIAN MOLE, AGED 13 ¾ (1985)

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Adrian Mole The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole is one of those iconic TV shows that you either loved or hated-in fact many parents hated it so much they wouldn't let their kids watch it. The programme was based on the book The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾ which was brilliantly written by Sue Townsend. It dealt with the trials and tribulations of a 13 and ¾ year old and was both humorous and touching in equal measures. It was this combination that made the TV series such a hit with people of all ages. Adrian spent a lot of time worried about the size of his 'thing' (he had a chart where he recorded its size), his health - his doctor Dr Grey struck him off his patients list due to his hypochondria, how he would win the heart of the rich Pandora, the troubles in his parents' marriage (think infidelity, drinking, arguing and you are pretty much there), the presence of OAP Bert Baxter in his life who he had to visit for a school project but got stuck doing odd jobs for him, and keeping out the clutches of Barry Kent the local bully. Incidentally Barry Kent was played by Chris Gascoyne who went on to play Peter Barlow in Coronation Street.

All of these problems and worries were written by the intellectual Adrian (he thought he was an intellectual, no one else did) in his diary each night and these entries formed the basis of the series. In fact a lot of the dialogue in many of the scenes is taken directly from the book, something which makes the programme even more enjoyable for fans. The opening credits of The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole are done in stop motion, which gave them a fun touch. Add to this the fantastic theme song written and performed by Ian Drury (which includes the line "I'm profoundly in love with Pandora") and you know you are in for a treat. When it came to casting the adolescent Adrian unknown Gian Sammarco was chosen, his mum was played in this first series by Julie Walters and his dad by Stephen Moore. The object of his affections, Pandora was played by Lindsay Stagg, while Adrian's grandma (in whose eyes he could do no wrong, unlike his mum) was handled with ease by Beryl Reid who could turn from doe eyed grandma to battleaxe in less than 5 seconds.

The diary was set in 1981 (the series wasn't made until 1985) and features a lot of the issues that were happening at the time including the Falklands War and mass unemployment. There were also a lot of issues that were personal to Adrian - would he ever go further than a kiss with Pandora, was his mum having an affair and what was his dad up to with Doreen Slater AKA the Stick Insect? In other words The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole was just the thoughts, ideas and worries (a lot of worries) of a normal-ish teenage boy. After the success of this series the next book, The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole was also turned into a series and left off where the previous series ended. For many The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole is one of the standout programmes of their younger years and even though it looks dated it is still a classic that is unforgettable.
Review: Joanne Kerrigan 2014

SEINFELD (1989)

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Show Image Probably the most influential and successful US situation comedy of the 1990's, Seinfeld began as a pilot about a standup comic who used his own life as the basis for his material. But thanks to a brilliant cast and top-notch writing (and a refusal to play by the rules), Seinfeld defined its decade much as I Love Lucy epitomized the 1950's and All In the Family reflected the 1970's. In its eight-year run, no one on Seinfeld learned from their mistakes or grew emotionally. ("No lessons, no hugging" was the rule of co-creator Larry David). In fact, the show delighted in poking fun at institutions usually considered "politically correct": disabilities; sexual practices; religion; bodily functions; ethnicity and racism. Yet the show managed to get big laughs out of each one. Seinfeld also created a vocabulary of its own. "Soup Nazi"; "Sponge-worthy"; "Shrinkage"; "Giddy-up"; "Master of my domain"; "Yada Yada" and "Not that there's anything wrong with that"--these and other phrases came from the lips of comic Jerry Seinfeld, his former lover and friend Elaine Benes (Julia Louis-Dreyfuss) , neighbor Cosmo Kramer (Michael Richards) and childhood buddy George Costanza (Jason Alexander). Not bad for a group of neurotic New Yorkers.

Real-life comedian Seinfeld (whose first major TV role was a messenger boy on the first season of the comedy Benson) got together with writer Larry David to create and write the pilot of the show, which was originally called The Seinfeld Chronicles. NBC nearly passed on the show--the network's late entertainment president, Brandon Tartikoff called it "too New York, too Jewish." Test audiences were split. But the show had a true believer in Rick Ludwin, the network's senior vice president for specials. Ludwin actually took money from his own department's budget to fund four more episodes. The shows did not do all that well in the ratings, but Seinfeld--the name was shortened to avoid confusion with a short-lived ABC series called The Marshall Chronicles--began airing as a midseason replacement in January 1991.

By the 1992-93 season NBC was no longer at the top of the ratings. Even worse, the cast of NBC's only top-ten hit, Cheers, decided to end the show's run. NBC gambled and slotted Seinfeld behind Cheers in midseason. The move worked, as Seinfeld cracked the top ten. By the fall of 1993, Seinfeld inherited the coveted Cheers timeslot (Thursday nights at nine), and became the network's biggest hit. A year later, Seinfeld was the cornerstone of a night NBC now trumpeted as "Must-See TV" along with Friends and ER. Seinfeld began finding a rhythm and honing it. Some critics called it "a show about nothing" because most episodes did not have a major plot point as so many comedies do. Instead, Seinfeld dealt with small situations such as the gang waiting for a table at a Chinese restaurant; looking for a car in a crowded shopping mall while carrying a room air conditioner; or even Jerry handing Elaine a Pez candy dispenser, which causes her to break up during a recital featuring George's new girlfriend who was performing a piano solo. Those events brought the best of the worst among them--Jerry's neurotic need for perfection; Elaine's sometimes overwrought enthusiasm; George's selfish, sometimes dishonest streak; and Kramer's wacky yet unique viewpoints on life and love. And the four leads were as selfish as any TV character had a right to be. Outsiders (girlfriends, boyfriends, parents) do not seem to be allowed in the clique; one will easily sell out the other for personal gain or gratification--not to mention what "Entertainment Weekly" once called a "pathetic whiff of desperation about their need for one another."

Significantly, none of the four main characters were married, leading to a rash of US "singles" comedies such as Friends, Ellen, The Drew Carey Show, and Suddenly Susan. Yet in Seinfeld there is an obsession with sex and relationships between men and women. Jerry is known to have dumped a number of women for such "flaws" as "man hands"; not tasting his pie; wanting to share toothbrushes; and even for having a strange laugh! George pines for a woman, yet treats her like trash when they date. Elaine and Kramer seem to have no problem getting dates, but for the most part, the relationships do not last long. While there were only four main characters on the show, a long cast of supporting players combined to give Seinfeld its spark. Among them are Barney Martin and Liz Sheridan, who played Jerry's parents Morty and Helen Seinfeld. George had to deal with the squabbling Frank and Estelle Costanza (played to the hilt by Jerry Stiller and Estelle Harris). As for Jerry, a long string of girlfriends came and went--including such actresses as Jane Leeves (Frasier); Courtney Cox (Friends); Teri Hatcher (Lois and Clark, Desperate Housewives); and Debra Messing (Will And Grace).

The engine that drove Seinfeld (next to Seinfeld himself) was co-creator Larry David, who based George Costanza on his own life. His scripts captured Seinfeld at its best. But in 1996, David decided to quit the show. Seinfeld then became executive producer, and the show continued its winning ways (even though by this time, critics thought the show had lost some of its spark). By the fall of 1997, Seinfeld was making one-million dollars an episode; his costars were pulling in half-a-million each. But after nine years and more than a hundred episodes, the workload was getting to be too much. Around Christmas 1997, Seinfeld met with NBC executives (and their superiors at parent General Electric), and told them the 1997-98 season would be his last. The news hit NBC hard; the network hoped it could talk Seinfeld into doing one more season so it can start grooming a successor for the Thursday at nine slot. (Because of its popularity among viewers 18 to 49 years old--a group advertisers paid a premium to reach--"Seinfeld" was generating a reported 200 million dollars a year in advertising revenue for NBC.) But Jerry Seinfeld was firm. The show would end, even though the network enticed him with a record five-million an episode. And end it did, on May 14th, 1998, with a one-hour and 15-minute episode (preceded by a 45-minute "clip" flashback episode).

After he announced the end of his series, Jerry Seinfeld told "Time" magazine that television "is like a flyer somebody sticks on your windshield. Who gives a damn what's on it? It's iridescent wallpaper. Sometimes I think people just like the light on their faces." At least in Seinfeld's case, the light was a lot brighter.
Review: Mike Spadoni

THE SENTIMENTAL AGENT (1963)

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Show ImageSpin-off from a Man of the World episode of the same name in which the character of Carlos Varela, the owner of Mercury International, an import/export trading company in London, could often be found on the global trail of any number of criminals. Argentinean born actor Carlos Thompson, who starred as the main character, had already established himself in Hollywood after being 'discovered' by Yvonne de Carlo (The Munsters) and had him cast alongside her in Port Algiers. Based on that picture Thompson landed himself a Hollywood contract, which led to roles alongside Lana Turner and Esther Williams. Starring parts in The Flame and the Flesh, The Valley of the Kings and several other films followed before the 6 foot 2 inch Latin heart-throb decided to turn his back on a Hollywood lifestyle and moved to Switzerland from where he became one of the continent's most sought after leading men as well as concentrating on a writing career. Bert Kwouk aka Cato in the Pink Panther series of movies starred in The Sentimental Agent as Varela's valet, Chin.

SERGEANT CORK (1963)

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Show Image Set in London in the 1890's, Sergeant Cork worked for the newly formed CID, the Criminal Investigation Department of the Metropolitan Police. The show was created by Ted Willis, who was responsible for the long running-and at that time, modern day police series, Dixon of Dock Green. Willis would often repeat the story of how the series came about when he went to see ATV executive Lew Grade to pitch an idea about a different series to him. Grade wasn't interested and asked Willis if he had anything else to offer. Willis didn't, but not wanting to leave Grade's office without a commission and thinking on his feet he said "what about a series about a Victorian detective, fog shrouded London, Jack The Ripper, music halls and all that?" Grade took a long thoughtful puff on his cigar and said, "I'll take 26." The series proved so successful that eventually 65 episodes were made over the next three years.

In creating the series Willis aimed to accurately portray the new methods of tracking down criminals by the use of scientific evidence, at a time when Victorian London was beset with problems of extreme poverty, played host to political exiles from around the world and was a hotbed of argument and debate. Cork was shown as a man of vision and a passionate believer in modern techniques in criminology, constantly waging a one-man war with his superiors to achieve proper status and facilities for the CID. John Barrie portrayed the 42 year-old Sergeant who came from middle class parentage and lived a bachelor life in comfortable lodgings in London's Bayswater Road. A well-known figure in the city, due mainly to extensive coverage by a press that was fascinated with detectives of that era, Cork was at ease with both sides of Victorian Society, whether in the company of the rich and famous or carrying out his detective work in the meanest of pubs in London's notorious East End district of Limehouse. Cork was assisted by Bob Marriott, a 25 year-old ex public schoolboy and university graduate who got into the CID through his contacts. Although the two men were from different worlds, Cork had a fond admiration for Marriott who had pursued a career in detection to the despair of his family, who regarded the police with complete disgust. William Gaunt played the part of Marriott before going on to star as one third of the team of agents that made up The Champions.

Conflict and opposition came in the form of Detective Joseph Bird (Arnold Diamond) who was representative of everything Cork disliked. Servile to his superiors, bureaucratic and a narrow-minded man of the 'old school', this deeply religious, strong disciplinarian had mutual feelings towards Cork and his methods. However, Cork had another ally in Superintendent Billy Nelson, an ex-military man who didn't always understand his Sergeant's methods but was always prepared to back him to the hilt. The series ran until 1966 and the concept was revived in similar form during the 1980's when Alan Dobie donned bowler hat and mounted hansom cab to portray Peter Lovesey's inspired Detective, Cribb.

SERGEANT PRESTON OF THE YUKON (1955)

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Show ImageOriginating as a 1947 radio series and created by George W. Trendle and Fran Striker, who had previously bought us The Lone Ranger (and would later devise The Green Hornet). Set in the frozen wastes of Canada's Yukon Territory around 1890, Sgt Preston of the Royal Northwest Mounted Police rode alongside and his trusted husky sidekick, Yukon King. Preston could often be heard encouraging his Eskimo dog's through the snow with cries of "On, King. On, you huskies!" Handsome actor Richard Simmons (who bore a striking resemblance to Clark Gable), cut a dashing figure in red uniform and broad brimmed hat as he single handedly tackled the rogues and scoundrels who preyed upon the peace loving settlers and gold miners who had come to make their home in this frozen wilderness, and naturally, like all good Mounties, he always got his man. The series (which was shown in Britain on the new ITV channels) was actually filmed in colour in the mountains of California and Colorado although it was only seen in black and white until 1963 when it was repeated on the NBC Network. There were 78 episodes over a three-year period before Preston finally rode off into the sunset for the last time on his trusty black steed, Rex.

SEVEN OF ONE (1973)

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Show Image Series of one-off comedies highlighting the inimitable talent of Ronnie Barker, and the ease in which he could slip in and out of such diverse characters as the hard edged prison lag Fletcher, to the ageing northern shopkeeper Arkwright. The idea of the series (originally intended to be called Six Of One...thereby the follow up series could be called Half A Dozen Of The Other), was a tried and trusted format on British Television under the 'Playhouse' format, whether it be drama or comedy. Many long running shows had begun life in this way and in Barker's case it led to two of the most enduring of television comedies, Open All Hours (the first in the series), and Porridge (the second). The other, now forgotten, five shows were My Old Man about a pensioner forced to move from his terraced house into a block of high-rise flats (later made as a starring vehicle for Clive Dunn), Spanner's Eleven which told the tale of a football team, One Man's Meat, which saw Barker playing a man forced to go on a crash diet, Another Fine Mess teamed the star with Roy Castle as two Laurel and Hardy impersonators, and finally I'll Fly You For A Quid, a story about a Welsh family who bet on absolutely everything and anything. Seven of One was the third series in which Ronnie Barker had appeared as a different character each week, the previous two being The Ronnie Barker Playhouse in 1968 and Six Dates With Barker in 1971

SEX AND THE CITY (1998)

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Show Image Not for the faint-hearted or easily shocked, Sex and the City was an adult, in your face and often hilarious look at the relationships of single men and women in turn-of-the-millennium America, as seen through the eyes of fictitious magazine columnist Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker). Bradshaw writes about sex for her trendy New York magazine using her relationship with three of her closest (single) friends as her main inspiration. Cynthia Nixon plays smart, yet cynical lawyer Miranda (a role that has seen her nominated for a Golden Globe Award), whilst Kristin Davis, already a veteran of such shows as Seinfield, ER, and Melrose Place is art gallery owner Charlotte Yorke, an elegant woman with impeccable taste. Completing the series female foursome is British born actress Kim Catrall as sultry, self confident, done-it- and-seen-it-all, (and continuing to do so) PR executive Samantha Jones. The main male interest in the show was Mr Big, played by Chris North (formerly Paul Sovino's partner in the smash hit legal drama, Law and Order), the object of our heroine's infatuation who, after telling Carrie that he was not ready for marriage yet, promptly turned around and married someone else. Sex and the City continued to pull out all the punches with its openness in both subject matter and language that made it a bold and witty series but one strictly for the adults. The final season concluded with the four girls reunited in New York, and with Carrie receiving a phone call from Big, telling her that his house is up for sale and he is headed back to New York. Two successful feature films have so far followed the series.

SEXTON BLAKE (1963)

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Show Image Sexton Blake was called the "prince of the penny dreadfuls" and "the office boys' Sherlock Holmes." He first came to life in 1893 in the pages of 'The Halfpenny Marvel' shortly after a certain Mr. Holmes had toppled off Reichenbach Falls. Blake's cases were stronger on action rather than deduction but there were parallels to be drawn with Conan Doyle's detective; substitute a cigar for Holmes' pipe, a landlady called Mrs. Bardell and his own Watson in the form of street smart Tinker Bell, who was not adverse to rolling his sleeves up and getting 'stuck in' whenever the fists were flying. Blake also had a pet dog, a bloodhound called Pedro. In the early stories Blake dashed about town on a bycicle but this was later traded in for a Rolls Royce nicknamed 'The Grey Panther'. The character was created by Harry Blyth and the great detective was initially called Frank Blake. Blyth received nine guineas for the first story before signing away his rights to the character. Since then it has been estimated that Blake's adventures have been penned by over 200 different writers before he was retired in the 1970s. In 1967 Rediffusion Television bought Blake's adventures to the small screen in a regular weekday tea-time series. However, the move angered Blake's legion of loyal fans many of whom were unable to watch because they were at work! The programme was eventually moved to a Sunday slot. Laurence Payne played the lead with Roger Foss starring as Tinker and Ernest Clark (Professor Loftus in Doctor In The House) was one of the many Scotland Yard detectives who called on Blake's services. The series proved popular enough for Thames Television to take it on board when they took over Rediffusion's franchise and the BBC reintroduced the character in a one-off story, Sexton Blake and the Demon God, in 1978.