Many people believed that this comedy series was inspired by writer Charles Wood's own adventures as a busy scriptwriter in films from the mid-60s on, and that he was himself the inspiration for the character of "Gordon Maple". See more »
This was a TV comedy series, but it was produced by the BBC's drama department, not its comey department; hence, each episode ran 50 minutes, not half-and-hour, and there was no audience or laugh track. Charles Wood wrote it, and part of the fun lay in our wondering how much of it was based on his own life, as the hero, Gordon Maple, described as a "lesser-known English dramatist", makes most of his money by writing screenplays for films which are never made. Throughout the first series, he was toiling away at a script called "Thundering Hooves", whilst coping with his near-hysterical wife (Gwen Watford) and oddball children, not to mention his neighbour, best friend and deadliest rival, a very successful playwright indeed, allegedly based on Wood's real-life neighbour and friend Peter Nichols. The friend (Francis Matthews) is said to be the author of a play called "Soldiers In Spurts" - Nichols had recently written "Privates On Parade"; Gordon is said to be the author of plays called "Elephant" and "Dog" - Wood had written a play called "Dingo". The first series also featured a famous actor-knight clearly based on John Gielgud, who had starred in Wood's script for "The Charge Of The Light Brigade". By episode six of the first series, Wood seemed to have deliberately written himself into a corner to avoid a second series, but a second series nonetheless appeared in 1979. It was very nearly as brillaintly funny and original as the first, but the BBC have never repeated either. Why not? More people should know it.
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