The first police series to show a woman at Detective Inspector level, The Gentle Touch stars Jill Gascoine as Maggie Forbes a tough but compassionate cop who is also a single mother to a teenage son following the murder of her police constable husband. Reflecting a time when there were very few ranking female officers, the series not only showed police procedure within a Metropolitan Police CID unit but also offered an insight into how a woman might cope with such a role in what was still very much a man's world. Instantly successful with the public, The Gentle Touch ran for five series and featured guest appearances by Catherine Schell, Brian Croucher, Joanne Whalley, Liz Smith, Art Malik, Lynda Bellingham and Louise Jameson, among many others.
Jill Gascoine stars as tough, no-nonsense female cop Maggie Forbes. Made at a time when there were very few ranking female officers in the police force, The Gentle Touch not only showed police procedure within a Metropolitan Police CID unit but also allowed insight into how a woman might cope with such a role in what was very much a man's world. An instant hit with viewers, The Gentle Touch become one of the most successful police dramas ever made. This fifth series sees DI Maggie Forbes facing the continuing challenges of policing in the Eighties, with powerful and contemporary storylines from a writing team that includes Terence Feely (Callan), Tony Hoare (Minder) and Peter Hammond (Z Cars); Lysette Anthony, Gordon Kaye, Lynda Bellingham and Louise Jameson guest-star.
What would you do if your husband, wife or business partner was making your life unbearable, to the point where there was no alternative but to have them removed- permanently? Could you bring yourself to do it? If not, bored Kensington housewife Joan (Tracy Reed, cousin of Oliver and niece of Carol) offers a possible alternative- for a price, she and her highly trained, all-female hit squad will very discreetly 'take out' the offending party and leave no trace behind .In this dark, bleakly comic and sometimes grimly prophetic drama from Donovan Winter, which, like many of the best British exploitation films, features a story ripped from yesterday's headlines, we enter the lives of both assassin and victim, and discover that in the London of 1975, whether swanky Knightsbridge or deepest suburban Orpington, noone has immunity from murder, and everyone is expendable. Locations also take in the legendary Biba department store, shortly before its closure.As usual, Winter assembles a cast of great performers from both ends of the cinematic spectrum, with future TV stars Bernard Holley (Z Cars, Tripods, Thriller, Dr Who, Phoenix And The Carpet, Birds Of A Feather) Brian Jackson (Revenge Of The Pink Panther, Protectors, Persuaders, Escort Girls) and Rula Lenska (Rock Follies, Take A Letter Mr Jones, Cluedo, Dr Who, Leap In The Dark, Confessions) rubbing shoulders with seasoned blue movie names Heather Chasen and Steve Amber, the former of whom is now a respected actress in her own right. There's also a minor role for horror star Sally Faulkner (Prey, Vampyres, The Body Stealers) which the eagle-eyed amongst you will have fun spotting.Is it the Mafia? Is it the Triads? Is it the Illuminati? The Men In Black? No, it's The Deadly Females - and they've got your name on their books...
Fresh Fields Julia McKenzie is Maggie a divorced schoolteacher who lives on her own in a flat in London. Comedy battleaxe Irene Handl is her Maggie s nosy next-door neighbour Mrs. P. whose continual presence means that Maggie is never really alone. While Maggie's hoping that Mr. Right will eventually come along it seems certain that Mrs. P.'s infuriating interventions will ensure the path of true love shall always run rough! This engaging highly popular LWT sitcom was an early success for the BAFTA-nominated Julia McKenzie and this first series set also includes the pilot play Poppy and Her first broadcast in 1976.
In 1984 and 1985, The Tripods was the show that the BBC used to fill its traditional Saturday teatime Doctor Who slot. Adapted from the first two books in John Christopher's "Tripods" trilogy, the show frustratingly failed to deliver the final story that winds everything up. This release collects the first series of 13 episodes, which covers the first book (The White Mountains). In 2089, the human race lives a peaceful, agrarian existence in post-technological communities under the rule of the Tripods, vast alien machines that look like the Martians from War of the Worlds. In a small English village, teenage cousins Will (John Shackley) and Henry (Will Baker) are troubled as they near the age at which they will be "capped", fitted by the local Tripod with a metallic hairnet which will turn them into docile, uncreative, happy servants of the invaders. A wily vagrant tells the boys that far to the south, a community of uncapped freemen resists the Tripods, and they set off on a 13-episode journey that takes them to the coast, across the English Channel and down through France, with stop-offs in the impressive ruins of Paris, at a medieval-style chateau and on a vineyard in the Jura. Along the way, the lads fall in with "Bean Pole" (Ceri Seel), a gangling, bespectacled French rebel who is fascinated with the lost arts of machine-making, but at each of their stopovers there are temptations, mostly in the forms of appealing French girls, to settle down and become happy conformists, but in the end they do join up with the rebels, ready for a mission to the city of the Tripods that comes in Series Two. With production values significantly higher than Doctor Who at that time, the show conserves its effects and makes them count, with the Tripods only rarely intervening directly. Watched at a sitting, it seems padded and the three lead actors are variable, but taken in single-episode chunks it works quite well, with a subtly unsettling depiction of a backward world where everyone seems happy but actually isn't and actual villainy comes as a relief amidst the overwhelming niceness. The English and French locations are very well used, and the production design and costuming (lots of hats to cover the "caps") is imaginative without being panto-like. --Kim Newman
The classic J.M. Barrie tale as told by Jan Francis.
The adventures of brave little pig Wilbur and Charlotte the friendly spider...
Four stories for children taken from the hugely popular and fondly remembered television series: 'Peter Pan' (read by Jan Francis) 'Alice's Adventures In Wonderland' (read by Penelope Wilton) 'Alice Through The Looking Glass' (read by Peter Davison) and 'Charlotte's Web' (read by Connie Booth).
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