This grim and claustrophobic drama chronicles the lives of the prisoners in Colditz Castle from the arrival of the first British prisoners after Dunkirk until the liberation of the castle ... See full summary »
After the sixth and final series of Howard's Way in 1990, the BBC felt that it needed a similar drama to draw the audiences in on a Sunday evening. Howard's Way, the BBC's answer to Dallas and Dynasty, had been trashed by the critics but was loved by an audience of millions for its Thatcherite plots and the lavish lifestyles it portrayed. To replace it the BBC commissioned Trainer, a drama following the life of trainer Mike Hardy (Mark Greenstreet) in his constant battle against his employer and stable owner James Brant (Edward Davenport) and other members of the racing fraternity residing somewhere in the Lambourn Downs.
The BBC decided to change as little as possible from the format of Howard's Way and cast Nigel Davenport as the gruff stable owner after he had been in Howard's Way playing Edward Frere. Also some of the sets and locations used in Howard's Way had been hastily repainted for use in Trainer. They did change the usual toe tapping Simon May theme tune to Cliff Richard singing 'More to Life'. Also the boardrooms commonly seen in Howard's Way where 'Big Business' was often discussed were replaced by old timers hatching their scheming plans in the local pub over a pint of Old Speckled Hen or two.
The series concentrated very little on the horsey aspects. Instead it was something of a fashion show as Greenstreet would often appear immaculately groomed in each shot and would often climb into his brand spanking new Land Rover Discovery (which was always spotlessly clean) in one set of clothes that any normal jockey/trainer wouldn't be seen dead in, only to jump out of it in the next shot wearing something completely different. Also there were a few forbidden love interests that Greenstreet dallied with along the way that were commonplace in Howard's Way and have become mandatory in series of this type.
Trainer failed to wow the audiences in its first outing on Sunday nights and was moved to the Wednesday night drama slot for the second series before disappearing without trace along with the television career of Mark Greenstreet.
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