Home Television Drama United!


1 9 6 5 – 1 9 6 7 (UK)
147 x 30 minute episodes

United! kicked off on Mondays and Wednesdays from 1965 and told the story of a fictional Midlands football club, Brentwich United. The series appeared authentic – except to anybody who had ever been to a real match!

The genuine action from Stoke City (where actual games were filmed) was fine, but when the actors took control it became farcical, with crucial penalties being taken by the club’s big-money signing with all the muscular power of Larry Grayson.

The actors were said to be keen amateur players but although Jimmy Hill was hired to vet the scripts the end result was wholly unrealistic.

Brentwich United were supposedly languishing near the foot of the second division when new manager Gerry Barford (David Lodge) took over.

Barford had to handle a tycoon chairman with a snooty wife, an ingratiating club secretary, his own anxious wife and desperately keen football-mad son, a prickly team captain (Bryan Marshall) and a womanising goalkeeper (Stephen Yardley),

The chairman of the supporters club was played by another soap favourite, Arthur Pentelow from Emmerdale Farm.

At the time the series was made, Wolverhampton Wanderers were also faltering, and they complained that the plots of United! were too close for comfort to their own plight. The BBC assured them it was sheer coincidence.

By February 1966 seven of the cast were dropped and new writers were brought in to make it ‘sweatier’ and less cosy. The team’s woman physiotherapist was dispatched, but the BBC insisted that bathing trunks were still worn in the after-match shower scenes.

In March, Barford was sacked (David Lodge asked to leave) and later that year Compact pin-up Ronald Allen was chosen as the new Brentwich manager, Mark Wilson. This doubtless won more women supporters, but prompted cynics to wonder if United! wouldn’t become Compact in boots, with Gussie as next goalkeeper.

In March 1967, with audiences stuck at around 6 million in the ratings league, United! was finally placed on the transfer list.

Gerry Barford
David Lodge
Jimmy Stokes
George Layton
Jack Birkett 
Bryan Marshall
Kenny Craig
Stephen Yardley
Mark Wilson
Ronald Allen
Curly Parker
Ben Howard
Danny South
Mark Kingston
Ted Dawson
Robin Wentworth
Deirdre Gosling
Beverley Jones
Gregg Harris
Graham Weston
Bob McIver
John Breslin
Fiona Nixon
Marigold Sharman
Amanda Holly
Jill Meers
Horace Martin
Harold Goodwin
Alan Murdoch
John Lyons
Vic Clay
Warwick Sims
Chris Wood
Michael Redfern
Dick Mitchell
Tony Caunter
Dan Davis
Arthur Pentelow
Dr Newkes
Ballard Berkeley
Betty Birkett
Linda Polan
Mary Barford
Ursula O’Leary
Jean Jones
Mitzi Rogers
Zack Bishop
Keith Bell
Billy Broome
Dick Haydon
Iris Murdoch
Irene Bradshaw
Sally Barford
Katharine Crutchley
Dave Rockway
Christopher Coll
Clara Dawson
Joyce Latham
Jeremy Dawson
Jeremy Burnham