David Nobbs followed 'The Fall & Rise Of Reginald Perrin' with 'The Sun Trap', about British expatriates living on an island in the Mediterranean. Peter Halliday ( the late Donald Churchill ) and wife Helen ( the late Zena Walker ) are the newest arrivals to this 'litle England' - where everyone drinks all day whilst grumbling about how bad things are back home ( there was a Tory government in power at the time ). The cast certainly was impressive - the late Joan Benham ( 'Fiona' ) was 'Lady Loftus' in L.W.T.'s 'Doctor series', Graham Crowden's character ( 'Horace' ) used to shout "Brick!" an awful lot for reasons I cannot recall, David Garth ( 'Harold' ) was in A.T.V.'s medical soap 'General Hospital', the sexy Jo Rowbottom ( 'Gloria' ) was James Beck's wife in the Wolfe/Chesney scripted 'Romany Jones', while the late Derek Waring ( 'Robert' ) had been 'Roland' in 'Moody & Pegg'. Confidant of the show's chances of success, the B.B.C. authorised location filming in Spain. No 'Duty Free'-style mock-up's here. The producer and director was Gareth Gwenlan, who'd worked on 'Perrin'.
The late, great Terence Alexander guested in one episode as 'Dennis Appleyard' whom Gloria was convinced had a thing for her. Not wishing to become another notch on his bedpost, she turned to Robert to help. It transpired that it was Robert whom Dennis lusted after, not her.
Nobbs said in his autobiography that he should have put in a younger character to provide a contrast with the middle-aged regulars. The show itself was a bit like one of those below-par Johnny Speight I.T.V. efforts such as 'Spooner's Patch' and 'The Nineteenth Hole' in which everyone spouted off all the time and were generally horrible. The characters bitterly resented 'foreigners' living in Britain without appearing to consider that out here they themselves were the foreigners.
Reviews were uniformly bad. "I didn't get where I am today without knowing a stinker when I see it!" said one disgruntled 'Points Of View' viewer. "I do not recall having seen a worse programme" said another. What made matters worse was that the show was still in production when these brick-bats were being thrown, meaning the cast had to record the remaining few episodes in the knowledge it was going down like a lead balloon back home.
The sun went down on 'The Sun Trap' after only six weeks. It has never been repeated and is unlikely to get a D.V.D. release. Never one to learn from its mistakes, the B.B.C. caught another cold in the Spanish sun in 1992 when it squandered viewers' licence money on the flop soap 'Eldorado'!
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