1 9 6 5 (UK)
12 x 75 minute episodes
London itself took the starring role in this series of plays from the BBC – a role which varied between hero and villain, enchantress and harpy. The series featured extensive location filming ranging from Soho to the Law Courts, Wembley to the docks.
The debut play, Boy In The Smoke, was set in Paddington, the first part of London seen by many newcomers arriving by train. For the Irish in particular – finding a haven among other Irishmen in the pubs and cheap hotels around the station – it was quite often the only part.
One such Irishman is Paddy (Sean Caffrey) – hungover and minus his wallet – who takes a very different view of the district from young Billy Carey (Raymond Hunt) to whom Paddington is home, with the excitement of building sites to play on and the mysteries of the canal.
They form an unlikely partnership, but in the course of the story, the search by Mr Carey (Tony Steedman) for his truant son and Paddy’s hunt for the thief who stole his wallet become interwoven with a question of friendship and personal freedom.
Angus Slowly Sinking? was set in the pseudo-intellectual atmosphere of Swiss Cottage, while the comedy episode Just Call Me Lucky was set in Soho and concerned a compulsive gambler.
Other stories dealt with such matters as blackmail, Northerners down for the Cup, a seaman seeking sanctuary, the rural life of a park-keeper, and the problems London lovers faced when they must often spend hours travelling before they could meet.
Episodes featured Henry McGee, George Sewell, Joss Ackland, Bill Fraser, Ronald Lacey, Bryan Pringle, Dudley Sutton, Noel Dyson, Rosemary Leach, Michael Robbins, Gretchen Franklin, John Sharp, John Alderton, Geoffrey Palmer, Aubrey Morris, Wendy Richard and many others.
Boy in the Smoke | Angus Slowly Sinking? | Just Call Me Lucky | Kill Three | The Long Street | Joe Nobody | Old Man of Chelsea Reach | A Day Out for Lucy | The Frighteners | A Little Touch of Henry | Common Ground | Pity About the Abbey