1 9 6 0 (UK)
6 x 30 minute episodes
This weird and surreal ATV series starred singer Anthony Newley as Gurney Slade (the name was taken from a small village in Somerset) – an over-imaginative young man prone to fantasising about his ideal woman.
The short series (only six episodes were produced) was written by Sid Green and Dick Hills (who would later write for Morecambe and Wise), and produced by Alan Tarrant.
It was very abstract and had Newley dancing with a vacuum cleaner and talking to dogs and inanimate objects – though usually to himself in invented languages (“Flangewick? Clittervice! Hendalcraw! Mandelso!”) – as he wandered around London.
Unusually, the series was shot on film, marking it out from the largely studio-bound, live, theatrical drama of the time.
The series was a success at first – with big viewing figures and critical acclaim (an estimated twelve million viewers settled down at 8.35 p.m. on 22 October for the first episode) – but eventually proved too much for viewers in the early 60s, and ratings plummeted. It was then relegated to a post-11pm late-night spot and replaced by 77 Sunset Strip.
Newley was joined by Bernie Winters, Geoffrey Palmer, Una Stubbs, Hugh Paddick, Fenella Fielding, Dilys Laye and Charles Lloyd-Pack. Max Harris’s music was conducted by Jack Parnell.