Home Television Drama Plane Makers, The

Plane Makers, The

1 9 6 3 – 1 9 6 5 (UK)
58 x 55 minute episodes

One of the better home-grown British dramas of the 1960s was ATV’s The Plane Makers which told of the life and death struggle in the fictitious Scott Furlong aircraft factory.

Created by Wilfred Greatorex. the series was built around the late Patrick Wymark as John Wilder, the company’s bullying managing director.

Wymark was a gentle man in real life. His wife once said that he was “the most inefficient, dreamy muddler in the world”. Not a ruthless and dynamic tycoon, then.

Wymark himself confessed that he disliked Wilder, calling him “a bastard”. His 12-year-old daughter, Jane, was also unimpressed, claiming the series was boring and adding “I’d rather listen to The Beatles“.

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The plane featured in the series was the Sovereign. Viewers wanted to buy it, but inside the 5½ ton aircraft was just scaffolding – no engines, no controls and no room for seats.

The only time it ever “flew” was when it was once towed across Hendon aerodrome in a high wind. It got three feet off the ground and nearly landed on the jeep that was towing it.

After 50 episodes about management and union disputes, ATV boss Lew Grade agreed with Jane Wymark that The Plane Makers was boring. “Who wants machinery and the noise of a factory when they get home at night? ‘Move out of there’ I said”.

So the action switched entirely to the boardroom, where it improved further as The Power Game in 1965.

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John Wilder 
Patrick Wymark
Pamela Wilder 

Barbara Murray
Don Henderson
Jack Watling
Kay Lingard
Norma Ronald
Arthur Sugden
Reginald Marsh
Henry Forbes
Robert Urquhart
Sir Gordon Revidge
Norman Tyrrell
planemakers5Laura Challis
Wendy Gifford
Margie Thomas
Elizabeth Begley
Mary Sugden
Sheila Raynor
Sir Gerald Merle
William Devlin
David Corbett
Alan Dobie
James Cameron-Grant MP
Peter Jeffrey
Mr Anstell
Harry Webster
Reginald Cunliffe
Tom Macaulay
Harriet Evans
Elizabeth Wallace