1 9 7 2 – 1 9 7 3 (UK)
13 x 60 minute episodes
This series from Thames Television featured tales of the elite Pathfinders unit of RAF Bomber Command during World War II.
It was all there. The mixture of nationalities, the stag party in the pub, the boffins from the Ministry completely out of touch with reality.
Each character tidily out of the mould, each situation entirely predictable: “If I don’t get back,” says the skipper of the Lancaster, casually tossing his car keys to a brother officer, “she’s low on petrol and I owe five quid to the hangar for servicing”.
As ripe for harvesting as the rear gunner from Wales, the only one of the Lanc crew to be hit by flak on their return from a successful mission.
“He’ll live,” says the station MO, “but he’ll never fly again.” To which the skipper replies, “And he was to be married this morning.”
But the authenticity of the series was superb, utilising the only remaining airworthy Lancaster bomber in Britain and a series of accurate radio-controlled models to great effect.
Actors who appeared in the series included Christopher Cazenove, Rutger Hauer, Geoffrey Bayldon, Bernard Lee, Jane Seymour, Anthony Valentine, Johnny Briggs, Edd Byrnes, Dennis Waterman, Mike Pratt, Kate O’Mara, John Bluthal, Mark McManus, Tony Selby and Shirley Stelfox.
Wing Commander MacPhearson
Squadron Leader Doc Saxon
Squadron Leader Shanks
Flight Lieutenant Elliott
Flight Lieutenant Conway
Into the Fire | For Better, for Worse | Fog | Fly There, Walk Back | Jonah Man | One Man’s Lancaster | Sitting Ducks | Our Daffodils Are Better Than Your Daffodils | Codename Gomorrah | Sweets from a Stranger | Operation Pickpocket | Nightmare | In the Face of the Enemy