Classic ITV comedy-drama from 1980, set in the fictional village of Shillingbury in Hertfordshire. Londoners Peter and Sally Higgins move to the idyllic English countryside to enjoy the ...
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Classic ITV comedy-drama from 1980, set in the fictional village of Shillingbury in Hertfordshire. Londoners Peter and Sally Higgins move to the idyllic English countryside to enjoy the ambiance of fine thatched-roofed cottages, strawberry cream teas, oak-timbered pubs and a collection of eccentric locals, including grumpy farmer Jake (Jack Douglas), his sexy daughter Sally ('Linda Hayden'), crafty tramp Cuffy (Bernard Cribbins), old busybody Mrs Simpkins (Diana King), nosy postman Harvey (Joe Black) and the twittering Reverend Norris (Nigel Lambert). Written by
One of the last comissions from (Sir) Lew Grade's ailing ACC company (ATV-ITC renamed). Broadcast in prime time on sunday nights during the summer of 1981. This charming, if unchallenging series pre-dates the feel-good drama genre that now dominates sunday nights in UK terrestrial TV schedules.
The series was a spin-off from the Shillingbury Blowers TV-movie. Trevor Howard was no longer present but guest cast included Lionel Jeffries, John Standing & Mona Washbourne.
No big names in the main cast, although Diane Keen always delights, Robin Nedwell showed more promise than he was usually allowed to and Jack Douglas, playing it straight for once, is convincing as the dour widower. A mention must go to the regular appearance of Linda Hayden, an actress in my opinion cruelly underused by the profession.
The principle location will be familiar to devotees of ITC and other 60's cult series. Remember the Murdersville episode of the Avengers?, well Little Storping In The Swuff & Shillingbury are one and the same!.
Beautifully filmed on 35mm Film stock and all in golden hues. Why was it not recommisioned? Poor ratings?, no international sales? ACC about to fold? who knows. It would be another decade before The Darling Buds Of May and others would catch the audience's imagination with a similar kind of family entertainment.
In closing, in the light of current trends, can someone at Carlton blow the dust off this little gem and release it on DVD at their earliest opportunity!.
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