1 9 8 4 – 1 9 8 9 (USA)
11 x 60 minute episodes
When Arthur Morton died, he went to Heaven and was groomed as an angel. With his name changed to Jonathan Smith (Michael Landon), he was sent back to Earth as a probationary angel to gain some experience of helping sad and worried people – and he certainly found plenty of those.
He travelled the globe as a wandering labourer, accompanied by one of his first converts, a cynical cop named Mark Gordon (Victor French).
Smith opted for counselling, moral support and leadership by example as means of lightening the load of others, but he could always call upon his angelic powers if required.
The show was oozily sentimental but sensibly avoided degenerating into complete mush by playing many of the scenes with tongue firmly in cheek. Indeed, a Halloween special – ‘I Was a Middle-Aged Werewolf’ – was even a skit on Landon’s movie debut in I Was A Teenage Werewolf (1957).
Both lead actors had previously appeared in Michael Landon’s earlier success, Little House On The Prairie.
At the height of his career, Michael Landon (real name Eugene Maurice Orowitz) was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 1991 and died the same year, aged only 55.