2 items from 2016
Ground-breaking, intelligent, prescient 1970s drama Doomwatch, now out on DVD, is a British television classic...
Playing on the public's fear that 'this could actually happen', Doomwatch had a veneer of credibility unusual in the escapist television drama landscape of the late 60s/early 70s. This spring sees the most comprehensive haul of Doomwatch episodes released on DVD for the first time. The nickname for the "Department for the Observation and Measurement of Scientific Work", the series first appeared on BBC1 on Monday 9th February 1970 at 9.40pm. It followed half an hour of comedy from Kenneth Williams, which must have surely heightened its dramatic impact.
The series would run in tandem with the early Jon Pertwee era of Doctor Who; the first episode made its debut two days after part two of Doctor Who And The Silurians. The two shows undoubtedly shared a synergy of ideas - not to mention cast and crew. »
Robert Banks Stewart, who has died at the age of 84, was a writer and producer whose knack for casting and determination to break the mould made two of television’s most enduring detective series, Shoestring and Bergerac, big ratings winners for the BBC.
Knowing that the corporation was, in 1979, looking for a new crime show, Stewart decided to jettison the idea of traditional cops-and-robbers drama, instead conceiving – with the playwright Richard Harris – a series about a private eye, Eddie Shoestring, who works for a local radio station. With its Bristol setting (chosen by Stewart to be a welcome change from the London suburbs hitherto ubiquitous to such dramas), distinctive score by George Fenton, and breakout performance from the then little-known Trevor Eve, Shoestring became a ratings hit. It ran for two series and was nominated for a Bafta.
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- Toby Hadoke
2 items from 2016
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