1 9 7 6 – 1 9 7 8 (China/Japan)
30+ x 45 minute episodes
Chinese culture was very popular in the 1970s, epitomised in part by the increase in TV shows featuring kung fu and other Asian stylings.
The Water Margin played to this trend, presenting a sword and magic version of the 13th-century Chinese epic by Shih Nai-an, relating the tale of 108 reborn knights who fight tyranny from their base in the marshlands of the Lian Shan Po.
The series followed their charismatic leader, Lin Chung, in his struggles against corrupt government official Kao Chiu. As the series progressed, more people fell foul of Kao Chiu and joined Lin Chung to fight against the government.
Episodes featured numerous fights and battles, humans with apparent superpowers – expert fighters, unbelievable strength, and so on – and captured the hearts and minds of a generation.
The original Japanese series was made in 1973, but it was the David Weir BBC version in 1976 that brought the show to a western audience.
Weir adapted the Japanese scripts, writing English dialogue to fit the mouth movements of the cast, rather than translating the Japanese scripts word for word.
This led to the show having near-perfect lip synchronisation, which made it more accessible to the UK audience.
English voices came from Burt Kwouk (who provided the narration), Michael McClain (Lin Chung), Miriam Margolyes (Hu San-Niang), Peter Marinker, Sean Lynch, David Collings and Simon Lack (amongst other).