1 9 7 5 – 1 9 7 6 (UK)
8 x 25 minute episodes
This BBC kid’s series revolved around young Ben Dyker (Kevin Moreton), the star forward of the Brenton youth team.
Ben lived in a caravan with his crippled dad (Geoffrey Hinsliff) who was adamant that his son wasn’t to play football. Turns out that Mr Dyker had been a football legend himself in his day but had his career cut short by a horrific injury – hence his disability.
For Ben, nothing could beat pulling on Brenton’s strip and guiding his team to the local cup final. But days before the cup, Mr Dyker discovered his antics and banned him from playing.
After much cajoling, Ben was finally allowed to play in the final where he was responsible for tapping in a last-minute winner.
Riveting sub-plots included such drama and intrigue as the Brenton club having to upgrade their changing rooms or be disqualified from the league.
The initial three-part drama begat a return series, though for the second run Ben “Striker” Dyker was no longer the central focus. Traditional tales of junior football endeavour and Roy of the Rovers-style last-gasp winners prevailed for the Brenton side.
If the second series had a central character, it was the team’s biggest fan, a girl called Jacky (Sylvia O’Donnell).
Jacky was always on the sidelines but harboured a desire to play for the Brenton Boys. Upset at not being included she runs away but her chance comes on cup final day when Brenton lose a player in an accident. With no option but to play, Jacky gets a boys haircut and wins the cup for the team.
The series was written by actor Kenneth Cope, famous as the white-suited ghost Marty Hopkirk in Randall and Hopkirk: Deceased. The story was largely based on fact as Cope had coached a boys football team that contained lads with the nicknames Bomber and Soggy. Mark and Nicky were based on his own sons, while Jacky was a girl who worked in his local post office.