1 9 7 8 – 1 9 7 9 (UK)
12 x 60 minute episodes
In Granada’s Fallen Hero, Gareth Hopkins (Del Henney) was a Rugby League player – and the star of Horton Rangers – who was forced to quit the game through injury (torn ligaments behind the knee) – although his marriage to Dorothy (Wanda Ventham) was a bit of a scrum.
Club physiotherapist Joe Harris (Barry Stanton) is sympathetic, but chairman Wilf Calder (Frank Crompton) is anxious to transfer Gareth, injury and all, to another club.
Hopkins decides to return home to Wales and the series dealt with his attempts to pick up the threads and readjust to a life without adulation.
He does not receive a sympathetic reception from his family, especially his fierce Welsh Nationalist father, David (Brinley Jenkins) who is dying from serious lung disease – the inheritance of years working down the pit.
Gareth is regarded as the prodigal son since he turned his back on local fame as a Welsh Rugby Union international in favour of a big cash payment for switching to Rugby League.
Meanwhile, his brother Kenneth (Jonathan Barlow) is about to do what Gareth should have done (play RU for Wales) and Gareth’s former fiancée, Sally (Marged Esli) – who he deserted when he left the valleys to play in the North of England – has switched allegiance to Ken.
The second series picked up three years after Gareth’s accident and two years since he left the hospital with his baby daughter after his ex-wife, Dorothy, rejected her.
He now had a new girlfriend, the trendy and liberated Rebecca Westgate (Prunella Gee) and was making slow but steady progress towards rebuilding his shattered life – while dealing with his ex-wife, his odious stepson Martin (John Wheatley) and local wide boy Teddy Ross (Tommy Boyle), his business partner in a seedy nightclub.
Fallen Hero was created and written by Wigan writer Brian Finch, a former local journalist turned TV dramatist. To ensure authenticity, Del Henny trained with Wigan Rugby League Club. The producers had him insured for £100,000 during the training.
Baby Dorothy Hopkins