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Alice Isn’t Dead – a podcast: Part 2, Chapter 8: Absent Family


Classic TV: Special Branch – Derren Nesbit, Fulton Mackay – S02 E01 –




Special Branch is a British television series made by Thames Television for ITV and shown between 1969 and 1974. A police drama series, the action was centred on members of the Special Branch anti-espionage and anti-terrorist department of the London Metropolitan Police.

The first two series were shot mainly in a studio on videotape with filmed location inserts; a standard method of the time but one which suffered from jarring differences in picture quality between interior and exterior scenes. The location scenes of some episodes were shot on outside broadcast cameras, leading to smoother transitions between location and studio work for those episodes. Series 1 and 2 starred Derren Nesbitt as Detective Chief Inspector (DCI) Jordan, working to Detective Superintendent Eden (Wensley Pithey) and subsequently Det. Supt. Inman (Fulton Mackay). The episodes featuring Eden (the first nine of Series 1) were recorded in black and white, while all subsequent episodes were recorded on colour videotape.

The show was revamped in 1973 after Thames Television’s Euston Films subsidiary took over production using film, which allowed for a less studio-based series. Euston Films had pioneered the technique of shooting action and adventure series entirely on location using 16mm film, for a more gritty and realistic look. These episodes starred George Sewell as DCI Alan Craven and Roger Rowland as Bill North. In series 3 episode 2, Patrick Mower debuted as Craven’s colleague and often antagonist, DCI Tom Haggerty. By the 1974 series Bill North had been axed, having had a nervous breakdown, though he returned for one episode later in the run.

Another character was Strand, who appeared in the fourth series, the man from the Ministry, played by Paul Eddington. Strand was a toffee-nosed civil servant who kept an unwanted eye on the detectives and their budgets. He sometimes manipulated them in order to pursue obscure matters of state, such as in the episode “Double Exposu

Classic Crime: Spender – S01 E07 – Jimmy Nail –


Spender is a BBC television drama set in Newcastle upon Tyne, written by Ian La Frenais and Jimmy Nail, who also starred. The series was produced by Martin McKeand (1-14). The series was broadcast on BBC between 1991 and 1993. In all, 20 episodes were produced across three series, and one feature length special, set in and filmed in France.

It focused on the life and exploits of Detective Sergeant Freddie Spender (Nail) who was often chosen to carry out more daring police cases. With his criminal sidekick Stick (Sammy Johnson), Spender was one of the more remarkable TV detectives of the 1990s. The series featured a large amount of back story for the main characters with many episodes dealing with Spender’s domestic life, his family and circumstances. Some of the storylines were surprisingly dark; one episode featured the death of Spender’s wife at the hands of a ruthless gangster, another on the kidnap of one of his daughters.

No further series were produced after the special, despite the popularity of the show, and it being a smash hit for the BBC in terms of ratings.

Classic TV: The Brothers – #62 – S05 E12 – Jennifer’s Baby



The Brothers is a British television series, produced and shown by the BBC between 1972 and 1976.

Debuting with the death of road haulage magnate Robert Hammond, the series followed the trials and tribulations of the company and family/families he left behind, with equal shares in Hammond Transport Services left to each of his three sons and to his secretary (who was revealed to have been Hammond’s mistress and the mother of his illegitimate daughter).

The series was based around conflict within the Hammond family over the direction of the family firm, a London-based road haulage business called Hammond Transport Services, after the death of patriarch Robert Hammond. The eldest son, Edward (played by Glyn Owen during the first series and by Patrick O’Connell for the remainder of the show’s run), prepares to take over the running of the business, only to find that his father has left equal shares to his two other sons, Brian (Richard Easton), a dull accountant and David (Robin Chadwick), a young graduate – and to his mistress and secretary Jennifer Kingsley (Jennifer Wilson). Storylines throughout the series dealt with plans to expand the business into an international concern, coupled with more family-orientated plots as Edward and Jennifer fall in love and marry.

Other prominent characters included Robert Hammond’s hard-faced widow and the mother of the three brothers, Mary (Jean Anderson), who is determined to continue exercising her own influence over her family, Brian’s shrewish wife Ann (Hilary Tindall) and David’s girlfriend then wife Jill (Gabrielle Drake). Later characters to be introduced included the loathsome] financial whizzkid and proto-yuppie Paul Merroney (Colin Baker); April Winter, who became his wife, (Liza Goddard), and Jane Maxwell (Kate O’Mara), the tough female boss of an air freight business. (Baker and Goddard later married in real life but subsequently divorced.)

Bill, the foreman (Derek Benfield), demonstrated how the workplace of the 1970s was changing. His elevation from the shop floor to a key member of the board was met with resistance from both ends, and the subsequent decades allow this to be seen in context, one way that management and workers may work closer together to maintain the company’s competitive outlook. The character of Paul Merroney can in hindsight be viewed as a prototype for the new Thatcher-inspired generation of corporate go-getters.

The show also featured Mike Pratt (Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)) playing the character Don Stacey (1975–76). This was the final role that he played before his early death

After the end of the seventh series in 1976, the show finished. There was no formal cancellation of the show but a further series was never commissioned.

Created by Gerard Glaister and N. J. Crisp, Glaister was also the producer of the series, and fulfilled the same role on Colditz and later Secret Army for the BBC. The Brothers became a highly popular Sunday night favourite with BBC viewers throughout its run

Classic Aussie Crime Drama: Blue Heelers – #173 – S05 E05 – Piece of Cake


Episode #47 seems to be missing
Episode #53 blocked in Adam’s location

Episode #90 Spider Man blocked in Adam’s location

Episode 150 blocked in Adam’s location

Format Of 151 excessively cropped, but sound OK

Episode 169 blocked in Adam’s location

Episode 171 blocked in Adam’s location

From Wikipedia

Blue Heelers is an Australian police drama series that was produced by Southern Star Group and ran for 12 years on the Seven Network, from 1994 to 2006. Although based around the policing of the town, the series generally depicted the everyday lives and relationships of the residents of Mount Thomas, a fictional small town in Victoria. The series was one of the highest-rated and most-awarded programs in the history of Australian television, having won 5 Logie awards, it is equal as the most awarded show in Logies history with The Don Lane Show. It is also noted for its two main stars Lisa McCune, a four-time recipient of the Gold Logie, and John Wood, who also won Gold.

Blue Heelers was first aired on 10 September 1993, with the episode “A Woman’s Place”. The last episode, aired on 4 June 2006, was the 510th episode, “One Day More”. It was produced by Southern Star for the Seven Network. During its 13-season run it won a total of 32 awards and was nominated for a further 50.This included 25 Logie Awards, five of which were the Gold Logie, the most coveted television award in Australia.

As well as everyday policing matters, the series deals with many controversial and “touchy” subjects. The series was the first to examine the stressful world of young police officers who are “thrown into the deep end where they are left to sink or swim”.

Police procedurals were enormously popular in Australia in the 1960s and 1970s, but by the 1980s they had been replaced by home-grown soap operas and mini-series. Blue Heelers, however, was Australia’s most popular television drama while it lasted. The series drew more than 2.5 million viewers every week at its peak. Along with Homicide, Blue Heelers holds the Australian record for most episodes produced of a weekly prime-time drama. 

Classic Comedy: Steptoe & Son – Without Prejudice


The classic comedy Steptoe and Son, when Adam was a boy we as a family used to watch this. Even after all these years the dialogue is superb.




William Bolcom: Piano Rags – Ragging Rudi


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