The survival rate of this series is very hit-and-miss: the only material existing prior to the sixth season, from which point everything exists in full, is the first season (the eight editions comprising "Menace!" and "Recipe for Danger") plus various film inserts. These were preserved by Mike Womersley, film editor on the series. See more »
Great memories of teatime viewing in the early '70s
As far as I know, this show was never repeated on UK television after its original run in the late '60s / early '70s, and most episodes are now sadly "missing presumed wiped".
Series 6 from 1971 however still exists in its entirety, and I recently got the chance to watch it all, the best part of 4 decades on.
After rushing home from school, Freewheelers was essential viewing for me and many of my contemporaries back in those halcyon days of flared trousers, Slade and Chicory Tip. And watching it again brought a nostalgic lump to the throat.
Never mind the bad / hammy acting, the unintentionally amusing fight scenes, plot holes wide enough to pilot a large ocean-going yacht through and the "frightfully, frightfully" RADA accents of the lead players.
No - forget all that. Because Freewheelers harks back to a bygone (dare I say "golden") age of kids' TV drama, when the shows were simply about rip-roaring fun and didn't take themselves so seriously. Before they became obsessed with all the angst-laden "ishoos" that today's screenwriters have their young protagonists fret over, such as relationships, pregnancy, drugs, STIs etc.
No doubt if it were "remade for a modern audience" in these days of all-pervasive political correctness, the boss figure would be a black female, one of the young male heroes would be a Muslim, the other would be a white lad confused about his sexuality and the girl would be an all-action go-getter with an IQ off the scale, who'd be forever getting the lads out of scrapes and making them look foolish - in other words a million miles removed from Wendy Padbury's deferential, ankle-spraining washer-upper.
It's a show that's very much "of its time". But is that a bad thing? I for one don't think so.
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