1 9 7 8 (UK)
7 x 30 minute episodes
John Alderton declined to appear in a second series of The Upchat Line so Keith Waterhouse came up with a superb ruse to keep his fictional character alive . . .
At the start of the new series – first broadcast on ITV in October 1978 – it was revealed that the old ‘Mike’ had gone to Australia but before departing he had raffled the key to left-luggage locker number 685 at Marylebone station.
The winner inherited his prized cache of pseudonyms, his address book, all his library tickets, his second-best t-shirt and, to start proceedings, a blind date.
This brilliant concept thus ensured that all the remaining scripts could remain unaltered for, in a Doctor Who-style move, while the actor had gone the character remained the same.
Robin Nedwell duly took over the role, carrying on much as before.
Ably assisted by the fascinating and sagacious Maggie (Susan Jameson) – the only woman who remains relatively immune to his indiscriminately distributed charms – he plunges happily on, demonstrating how easy it is to fool nearly all of the people nearly all of the time.
The Torchbearer | Spring in Park Lane | Mystery Tour | The Homecoming | My Fair Lydy | A Game of Singles | Will the Real Mike Upchat . . .