Home Television Drama Newcomers, The

Newcomers, The

1 9 6 5 – 1 9 6 9 (UK)
430 x 25 minute episodes

Set in a fictional East Anglia overspill town called Angleton (which was really Haverhill in Suffolk), this series centred around the newly-moved-from-London Cooper family; Vivienne (played by Australian leading lady and former singer, Maggie Fitzgibbon), husband Ellis (Alan Browning), and their children Phillip (Jeremy Bulloch), 16-year-old Maria (played by Judy Geeson before she became a star) and long-haired Lance (Raymond Hunt).

There was also a glum gran (Gladys Henson) who seemed riveted to the sofa, and Wendy Richard (Miss Brahms/Pauline Fowler) as the Cooper’s 20-year-old cockney neighbour, Joyce Harker.

Ellis Cooper was the shop superintendent at Eden Brothers, a computer components firm. British Industrialists complained that the chairman was a crook, the managing director an ass, and the image of the British industry had been sullied.

The serial was predominantly about class and the interactions between factory workers, management and the long-suffering locals.

Storylines switched between work and home: minor industrial disputes, frustrated love affairs across class boundaries and boardroom skullduggery were all regularly revisited.

Mary Whitehouse however, gave the show a commendation for being “morally sound”.

Ellis died of a heart attack in December 1967 (because Alan Browning had grown bored with the role), and the widowed Viv was due to have a ratings-busting wedding to new character Charles Turner (Neil Hallett).

When the storyline was changed to a whirlwind romance and an off-screen wedding in New Zealand instead, Maggie Fitzgibbon quit. A new family – the Robertsons – were introduced in January 1968.

Only a few months later, the show was cancelled, despite the BBC remarking that it was still “at its peak”.

The Newcomers aired twice weekly, on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The four producers during the life of the programme were Verity Lambert, Morris Barry, Ronald Travers and Bill Sellars.

Vivienne Cooper 
Maggie Fitzgibbon
Ellis Cooper 

Alan Browning
Phillip Cooper 

Jeremy Bulloch
Maria Cooper 

Judy Geeson
Lance Cooper 

Raymond Hunt
Gran Hamilton
Gladys Henson
Joyce Harker 

Wendy Richard
Vera Harker
June Bland
Bert Harker
Robert Brown
Jimmy Harker
David Janson
Janet Cooper/Langley
Sandra Payne
Jeff Langley
Michael Collins
Mrs Heenan
Vanda Godsell
Amelia Huntley
Naomi Chance
Rufus Pargeter
Michael Redfern
Minnie Pargeter
Cindy Wright
Kirsty Kerr
Jenny Agutter
Andrew Kerr
Robin Bailey
Charles Turner
Neil Hallett
Jacob Penrose
George Woodbridge
Mrs Penrose
Megs Jenkins
Prudence Penrose
Eileen Helsby
Charles Penrose
Victor Platt
Ernie
Malcolm McDowell
Olivia Robertson
Mary Kenton
Hugh Robertson
Jack Watling
Adrian Robertson
Paul Bartlett
Michael Robertson
Robert Bartlett
Julie Robertson
Deborah Watling
Herbert Button
J G Devlin
Martin Kelly
P G Stephens

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