Home Television Drama Airline


1 9 8 2 (UK)
9 x 50 minute episodes

In 1946, Jack Ruskin (Roy Marsden), demobbed after World War II but with flying still in his blood, struggled to find work with civilian airlines and so chanced his arm by founding his own. His partner in the new Ruskin Air Services was ex-forces colleague Peter Witney (Richard Heffer).

Operating with an old Dakota aircraft that Ruskin had bought with his £70 demob gratuity, they aimed to cut themselves a slice of the world cargo market. However, the business had difficulty getting off the ground, in more ways than one.


Ensnared by shady business deals and hampered by bad weather, Ruskin Air Services offered its staff and management an uncomfortable ride, as Jack lurched from one financial crisis to another. But his entrepreneurial spirit was not to be denied.

He raised his sights, took on passenger transport and later became involved in the Berlin Airlift.

Ernie Cade (Terence Rigby) was the company’s dodgy backer, McEvoy (Sean Scanlan) was the company engineer and Jennie Shaw (Roy Marsden’s then real-life wife, Polly Hemingway) was Jack’s girlfriend.

Airline was a superb production with breathtaking aerial sequences and top drawer production values.  Tony Hatch provided the music.

Roy Marsden, Polly Hemingway and the whole Airline ethos was borrowed for a British Airports Authority commercial several years later, which brought an unsuccessful lawsuit from the show’s creator, Wilfred Greatorex.

Jack Ruskin
Roy Marsden
Peter Witney
Richard Heffer
Sean Scanlan
Jennie Shaw
Polly Hemingway
Ernie Cade
Terence Rigby


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